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SRCA legislation amendment

Thursday 19 January, 2017

Source: Department of Veterans Affairs

A new Bill, the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Legislation Amendment (Defence Force) Bill 2016, has been introduced into Parliament.

If passed, the legislation will replicate the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 (SRCA) to create a standalone Act for current and former Australian Defence Force (ADF) members. This Act will be called the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation (Defence-related Claims) Act (DRCA).

Importantly, eligibility and benefits under DRCA will be the same as those currently available to ADF members and veterans under the existing SRCA.
The new Act will not apply to, or have any impact on, veterans with eligibility under the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986 or the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004.

The Bill reflects the Government’s commitment to recognise the unique nature of military service. If passed, it will make the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs responsible for all compensation Acts for ADF members and veterans. Currently, the Minister for Employment has responsibility for the SRCA, which covers all Commonwealth employees, including ADF members.

The prospect of a standalone Act was announced by the Government nearly two years ago. Since then, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) has consulted with the Department of Defence and ex-service representatives. Both Defence and ex-service representatives have been supportive of this important change.

This is a significant step in the broader reform being undertaken by DVA to improve services for veterans and their families.

To implement veteran-centric reform most easily, policy responsibility for all of the relevant legislation should sit with the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs.

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