Canberra - March 2007
Minister For Veterans Affairs, The Hon
Bruce Billson addressed the meeting
and raised the following matters:
a.. Gold Card - he hoped that the
replacement card has addressed the
Federations concern about readily
identifying a TPI to a medical provider.
b.. Gold card Integrity - agreement between ESO's, DVA and AMA have
the continue integrity of the gold & white
card programs - cost an extra
c.. Specialist Fees - these are now aligned with those provided
by the private health funds.
d.. Allied health programs - the fee for these
is now linked to those provided by the
private health funds.
e.. Health Budget - 4.6 billion dollars has been allocated for
veterans health for
fiscal year 2006-07
f.. Private Hospital - these has been a 50% increase in
the number of private hospitals that are
approved to accept veterans.
g..Proposed Access Card - this one card will replace the Gold,
& Pension Cards; the Minister assured the
conference that the new card will
continue to clearly identify a TPI, EDA,
War Widow or POW because these
groups of special interest.
h.. Security Access Card - only basic
information will be stored on the card, the
card will have encoded data that
provides the "key" to access information
but this can only occur when it is
swiped through an approved machine. The
program on the card provides
triggers that will only allow an
organization to view its own information
but not that held by another. For example
DVA may only view its own data and
not that of Medicare. The card may allow
direct payment to medical providers
using electronic transfer but that has not
been finalised at this stage.
i..Disability Claims - DVA is endeavouring to reduce the time that
it takes to
process a disability claim or review.
j.. Value of a Gold Card - it is
estimated that it costs around one million
dollars for every 60 gold cards
k.. Variations in requirements - there are different
requirements and standards between MCRS,
VEA, CommSuper & SRCA in relation
to compensation - this issue is being
investigated to see where improvements
or streamlining may be applied.
l.. Indexation of Special Rate - The
Minister is fully aware that the priority
of the TPI Federation was the full
indexation of the TPI (Special Rate).
m.. Younger Veterans Program - this
needs further planning, there is a clear
need to provide assistance to these
veterans and make them aware of the
programs that are available, for example
most are not aware that they can seek help
through the VVCS.
n.. Iraq Veterans - there are 230 of these vets on a disability
pension or some kind.
Federation President's Report, John "Blue"
Ryan spoke to the Directors and
gave an overview of the Federation current
actions and position:
a.. Meeting with the Prime Minister - He and John Vincent felt that
they were given a
good hearing and a fair go, the Prime
Minister seemed interested in their
point of view and he was obviously well
versed on the background to the
b.. Minister for Veterans Affairs - Blue described the present
Minister as "head and shoulders above those he had dealt with
previously" Bruce Billson has shown himself to be a positive thinker
and committed to the task.
c.. Support for another ESO - It is the Federation
policy to concentrate on matters that
directly concern TPI's however it is
prepared to work with any ESO that shows
good faith in their dealings, it
will also support a submission from another
ESO where there is no conflict
with its own submissions.
d.. Highest Priority - The Federations "main game"
is the May 2007 Federal Budget and full
indexation of the Special Rate.
e..Federation's Credibility - after many years of dealing with a
Ministers and Departments it is now
pleasing to report that the Federation
is recognised as a very credible
organization which represents its members
in an honest and fair manner.
f.. Offensive email/correspondence - A few
veterans have resorted to the use of
offensive or defamatory correspondence
to the Minister & Government, actions such
as this served no good purpose
and in fact damaged the Federations
credibility and may jeopardised any
future dealings with the Government.
g.. Dissemination of Information -
The Federation has asked all State &
Territory Associations to distribute any
information it provides as widely as
h.. TPI Numbers -
Nationally there are 28181 TPI's;
unfortunately only just over 50% are members of a TPI
Association, Blue asked that every member
try and entice more TPI's to join
their Association, this is the only way our
voice will continue to be heard
in Canberra and it will ensure the ongoing
strength of the Federation into
Allan Griffith MP, Shadow Minister on
Veterans Affairs Mr Griffith's spoke
on a number of issues but was not specific
about Labor's policies or its
funding arrangements, with a Federal
election so close it is understandable
that the Opposition do not want to show
their hand but it was not very
helpful to the Federation.
Mr Griffith appeared very confident and
articulate; he could certainly
succeed as a Minister, fortunately he has
been around long enough (14 Years)
to be known and understood by the
The Federation's understands that some
veterans may be planning a protest
rally in Canberra in the coming months and
that it is based on the failure
of the Government to provide full
indexation of the TPI (Special Rate)
It is the view of the Federation that
action at this time may be ill timed
and of detrimental effect to the
considerable work and consultation that
has been undertaken over the last couple of
years, accordingly the
Federation does not support a rally of this
type although it recognises the
right of every individual to protest.
Info received from Noel Kelly
4RAR Assoc, Qld thanks Noel.