Media Release - 8 December 2000

The Vietnam Veterans Association of Australia welcomes the passing of the Veterans Affairs Legislation (Budget measures) Bill 2000 in the Senate, the National President, Brian McKenzie said today.

The Bill contained the government response to the needs of the Vietnam veteran community identified in the Health Study released last year. It gives much needed assistance to dependants and former dependants of Vietnam veterans, gives access to counselling services, psychiatric diagnosis and specifically addresses the high incidence of suicide on the children of Vietnam veterans.

Mr McKenzie said "The bill had been held up after an amendment introduced by the Opposition and Democrats to give coverage to the SEATO Civilian Surgical Teams under the Veterans Entitlement Act”. He said that despite this setback, the Association was unwavering in its resolution to assist the Surgical Teams from Vietnam to obtain their entitlements and would be pursuing this with the government for a satisfactory outcome in the future.

Mr McKenzie said; 'The Association commends the Opposition and the Democrats for permiting the Legislation to proceed unamended, thereby ensuring that the much-needed assistance is available to our families on 1 January 2001. In particular we appreciate the difficult decisions made by Hon Graham Edwards, Senators Chris Schacht and Andrew Bartlett that guaranteed that the legislation was passed.'


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