MEDIA RELEASE - Morrison Government fails Newcastle TPI veterans again
20 October 2021
Labor condemns the Morrison Government for its failure to accept the recommendation of a bipartisan Senate inquiry that the Totally and Permanently Incapacitated (TPI) pension for disabled veterans be increased.
The Morrison Government’s “response” to the independent inquiry is just another blow for the 879 TPI veterans in the Newcastle Hunter region.
The Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee Inquiry into the TPI Payment (Special Rate of Disability Pension) reported on 1 July 2021, recommending that the Government consider an increase in the TPI Payment.
At the time, Labor called on the Morrison Government to respond to the committee’s unanimous recommendation, to ensure our most disabled veterans were not left behind.
The Morrison Government’s response is appalling. No commitment has been given for additional support for TPI veterans, preferring instead to simply ‘note’ the recommendation, which the government may (or may not) take into account when considering future policy options for TPI veterans down the track.This is a huge slap in the face for Australia’s 27,000 TPI veterans.
The Australian Federation of Totally and Permanently Incapacitated Ex-Servicemen and Women (TPI Federation) has been raising the issue of the TPI Payment for years, but the Liberal Government remains tone-deaf to their pleas.
Before the 2019 election, the Prime Minister as-good-as promised to increase the TPI pension rate, but since then he’s ignored his own colleagues’ advice and has consistently refused to raise the pension rate.
After sitting on a review of the TPI Payment for more than a year, Scott Morrison announced in last year’s Budget that he would only provide rent assistance to around 10 per cent of TPI veterans, leaving most disgusted as they will miss out.
In response to Labor’s questions in Senate Estimates last year, it was revealed these benefits would not start to flow until September 2022 while they made changes to legislation and IT systems.
Following pressure from Labor and TPI veterans, the Government brought this forward to January 2022, but has still failed to legislate the changes and is running out of time to deliver them.
On top of this, we know that the Department of Veterans’ Affairs is struggling to deal with a huge backlog of veterans’ claims for a disability pension, with 68 per cent of claims yet to be finalised as of April this year.
It’s just not good enough and our veterans and their families deserve better. Only Labor is on the side of Australia’s ex-service men and women.
The Senate inquiry report and Government response can be found here.