A re-elected Coalition Government will invest $38.1 million over the next three years to establish a National Veteran Volunteer Service program in partnership with Disaster Relief Australia (DRA).
This innovative program will increase the engagement of veterans and their families in disaster resilience, recovery and relief operations, and community service projects throughout Australia. In doing so, this will improve the health and wellbeing of veterans and their families and their long-term employment outcomes.
As we have seen when floods, bushfires and other extreme weather events hit our communities, both volunteers and the Australian Defence Force are the first to respond to assist the recovery and relief operations. This investment will enable DRA to add around 5,200 volunteer veterans to their ranks, creating a team of up to 6,700 volunteer veterans, with supporting infrastructure and equipment, across the country, ready to respond when disaster inevitably hits communities.
Veterans bring unique skills and experience to everything they do, and this program will seek to harness these in a coordinated way in partnership with first responders and governments to rapidly deploy disaster relief teams in Australia and around the world. In addition, by providing specialist training for these veteran volunteers, this program will provide our veterans with purpose and direction.
This investment builds on the Morrison Government’s $3 million investment in DRA under our Enhanced Employment Support for Veterans Grants under the auspices of the Prime Minister’s Veterans’ Employment Program.
This supported DRA to establish its unique veterans’ employment program to provide training and qualifications and employment for veterans through volunteer disaster response across the country. DRA was able to develop courses for core disaster relief specialities and purchase equipment with this funding, which continues until the end of 2022-23.
The Coalition will always back our local communities and support our veterans and their families.