PM backs US-style military card
A CARD replicated on a US military system giving discounts on food and electricity will be available to every Australian veteran through a Federal Government plan.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison will launch a proposed joint venture with business to help ease the financial burden on struggling ex-Australian Defence Force personnel, including more than 80,000 living in Queensland alone.
The ID card which may also come in digital form, will allow businesses to offer assistance with utility bills.
In the US, thousands of businesses offer former military personnel discounts on wedding rings, flowers, university fees, cars, utilities and groceries.
Under the initiative, the government will be providing the Kookaburra Kids Defence Program with $7.6 million over four years to support the children of veterans struggling with poor mental health.
The plan also includes $6.7 million for a facility to house rural and regional veterans and their families getting treatment at a hospital.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the community wanted to acknowledge the sacrifices made by ex-serving men and women.
"We are introducing a veterans card and pin that will make it easier businesses to show their appreciation by offering special discounts and offers for our veterans," Mr Morrison said.
"I've worked with returned services organisations and veterans' charities for years and I've seen first-hand the battles so many veterans face when they leave the defence forces.
"As a country we can always do more to recognise and back in our veterans.
Mr Morrison said the card and pin was on top of the Federal Government's $11 billion in funding.
"As the Invictus Games come to an end and we mark the Centenary of Armistice, we want to set Australia up to support the veterans of today and tomorrow," he said.
Minister for Veterans' Affairs and Defence Personnel Darren Chester said the funding showed how grateful the community was for their service.
"Our Government is committed to putting veterans and their families first and we recognise there is enormous goodwill in the community to support our veterans," Mr Chester said.
"Australians recognise the unique nature of military service and the covenant supported by a veteran card will allow businesses and individuals to practically demonstrate that support every day of the year."
LNP candidate Phillip Thompson said he and other veterans welcomed the announcement.
"This is much needed recognition to the men and women who have put their lives on the line and served," Mr Thompson said.
"Other nations have already implemented cards like this and it shows how we progressive we are in supporting veterans."