Legislation to enact the Australian Defence Veterans’ Covenant was passed by parliament on 22 October 2019 and has been forwarded through appropriate channels for Royal Assent.
Australian Veterans’ Recognition (Putting Veterans and their Families First) Bill 2019 will establish the Australian Defence Veterans’ Covenant, which provides a formal way for all Australians to show their appreciation to our current and former Australian Defence Force personnel, and to the families who have supported them.
Upon Royal Assent in coming weeks, the Bill will become a separate Act to provide symbolic recognition for all veterans.
It does not change current entitlements.
Minister for Veterans and Defence Personnel Darren Chester said the covenant, veteran card and veteran lapel pin would allow the community — including employers, businesses, community groups, veteran or sporting organisations and the general public — the opportunity to recognise the service and sacrifice of the men and women who have served our nation.
“The legislation also includes a statement requiring the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) to adopt a beneficial approach when interpreting legislation and apply a fair, just and consistent approach to veterans’ claims,” Mr Chester said.
“Arrangements are also being finalised for businesses across Australia to recognise the unique nature of military service by providing benefits through the veteran card, and I encourage any business that would like to learn more about how it can participate to contact the Department of Veteran’s Affairs.
“We are committed to putting veterans and their families first and this legislation is part of our ongoing efforts to transform the culture of DVA.”
The Australian Defence Veterans’ Covenant is part of a wider recognition package, and enables the oath and lapel pin to be provided to veterans and eligible reservists.
The package also includes the veteran card — a redesign of the existing DVA health cards, which is open to new applicants and will be provided to existing card holders over the coming months.
Mr Chester said those who had already applied for the lapel pin and oath would begin receiving their covenant packs soon and he urged those who have not applied for the covenant to do so online using MyService.
More information on the Australian Defence Veterans’ Covenant, including how individuals can apply and how businesses and community organisations can register their support, can be found on the DVA website.