Pension pay rise

VETERAN PENSION RATE RISE ON 20 SEPTEMBER

 

The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Warren Snowdon, announced that from today, 20 September 2012, there will be an increase in pensions and income support payments for around 305,000 veterans, partners, war widows and widowers around the nation.

 

“The bi-annual pension indexation process, which was improved by this Government in 2009 with the introduction of the Pensioner and Beneficiary Living Cost Index (PBLCI), underlines our commitment to providing the support veterans and their families need to cope with the increased cost of living.

 

“The increases I have announced today are part of this process, and will go a long way in helping out those that need it most,” Mr Snowdon said.

 

The first full pension payment at the new rates will be on pension payday 18 October 2012.

 

The table below highlights the key changes to fortnightly rates.

 

Pension

Old Rate
(per fortnight)

New Rate
(per fortnight)
20 September

Increase

Service Pension—single

$755.50

$772.60

$17.10

Service Pension—couples

$1,139.00 couple

$569.50

each

          $1,164.80 couple

 

$582.40

each

$25.80

$12.90

War Widow Pension

$765.60

$783.60

$18.00

Income Support Supplement

$228.90

$234.40

$5.50

Special Rate (TPI) Pension

$1,154.20

$1,182.00

$27.80

Intermediate Rate Disability Pension

$783.40

$802.30

$18.90

Extreme Disablement Adjustment

$637.30

$652.70

$15.40

100 per cent General Rate of Disability

$410.10

$420.00

$9.90

 

Pensions are indexed twice a year in March and September by reference to the highest of three measures: the Consumer Price Index (CPI), the Pensioner and Beneficiary Living Cost Index (PBLCI) and Male Total Average Weekly Earnings (MTAWE).

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Fallen soldiers home

Five Australian soldiers killed in two separate incidents in Afghanistan last week were returned home to their families and comrades today, at moving ceremonies at RAAF Base Richmond in Sydney and RAAF Base Amberley in Brisbane.

 

At RAAF Base Richmond, Lance Corporal Mervyn McDonald and Private Nathanael Galagher were received by their families and members of the Australian Army, led by Chief of the Defence Force, General David Hurley, AC, DSC and Special Operations Commander, Major General ‘Gus’ Gilmore, DSC, AM.

 

An honour guard and bearer party formed by soldiers from Lance Corporal McDonald and Private Galagher’s unit, 2nd Commando Regiment, received and carried the caskets of their fallen mates from a Royal Australian Air Force C-17 Globemaster aircraft to their loved ones.

 

Thirty-year-old Lance Corporal McDonald and 23-year-old Private Galagher were killed in a helicopter crash in Helmand Province in the early hours of 30 August 2012, while serving with the Special Operations Task Group.

 

At RAAF Base Amberley, three soldiers killed in an insider attack were received by their families and members of the Australian Army, led by Chief of Army, Lieutenant General David Morrison, AO and Commander 7th Brigade, Brigadier Greg Bilton, CSC, ADC.

 

Lance Corporal Stjepan ‘Rick’ Milosevic, Sapper James Martin and Private Robert Poate were received by an honour guard and bearer party formed by members of their respective units—2nd/14th Light Horse Regiment, 2nd Combat Engineer Regiment and 6th Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment—before their caskets were carried from a Royal Australian Air Force C-17 Globemaster aircraft to their loved ones.

 

Lance Corporal Milosevic (40), Sapper Martin (21) and Private Poate (23) were serving with the 3rd Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment (3RAR) Task Group on operations in Afghanistan when they were killed in an insider attack at Patrol Base Wahab in the Baluchi Valley region of Uruzgan Province on the evening of 29 August 2012.

 

Speaking at RAAF Base Richmond, General Hurley expressed his condolences to the families of the five fallen soldiers.

 

“Today we receive home five Australian soldiers who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our nation,” he said.

 

“The thoughts and prayers of the entire Defence community are with their families, friends and colleagues on this very difficult day.

 

“We are indebted to these men for their courage and selflessness in choosing a life of service and for the pride and honour with which they served.”

 

Speaking at RAAF Base Amberley, Lieutenant General David Morrison also expressed his condolences to the families.

 

“Today, Army mourns the loss of five fine soldiers, each of whom was outstanding in their own right,” he said.

 

“These men’s commitment to their chosen career as soldiers and to our mission in Afghanistan was unwavering, as was their loyalty to their mates and their love for their own families and their Army family.

 

“Their loss has been deeply felt across the Army and I offer my heartfelt condolences to their families, friends and colleagues.”

 


Media note:

The following arrangements have been made for media to access stills and video, when available, after the ceremonies:

 

Photos from the ramp ceremony at RAAF Base Richmond will be published on the Defence Image Gallery  at http://images.defence.gov.au/12130830

 

There will be a pool feed of video from the ramp ceremony at RAAF Base Richmond.

 

Photos from the ramp ceremony at RAAF Base Amberley will be available on the Defence Image Gallery at http://images.defence.gov.au/12130831.

 

Video from the ramp ceremony at RAAF Base Amberley will be fed from Defence digital Media to the Parliament House Press Gallery.

Media contact:

Defence Media Operations – 02 6127 1999

Remembering Long Tan Day

REMEMBERING AUSTRALIANS’ SERVICE AND SACRIFICE IN VIETNAM

The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Warren Snowdon, has asked all Australians to remember almost 60,000 men and women who served our nation during the Vietnam War, this Vietnam Veterans’ Day, 18 August.

Mr Snowdon said Australian sailors, soldiers, airmen, nurses and civilians were involved in the war for more than a decade from 1962. “Ceremonies held across the country today will remember all those who served, especially the 521 who paid the ultimate sacrifice,” he said. “Just over two weeks ago, we saw the 50th anniversary of the Australian Army Training Team Vietnam (‘The Team’) being sent to work with the South Vietnamese Army,

Territorial and Mobile strike forces. “The Team served in Vietnam from 1962, until the 1st Australian Task Force (1ATF) was withdrawn in 1972, its service over a decade is worthy of enduring recognition.”

This day, 18 August, marks the anniversary of one of Australia’s most significant actions, the Battle of Long Tan. While patrolling the Long Tan rubber plantation, Australian troops primarily from Delta Company, 6th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, and three New Zealand soldiers were attacked by a large and strong force of North Vietnamese and Viet Cong troops. After a timely ammunition resupply, artillery fire from the base and the arrival of reinforcements by armoured personnel carrier, the Australian and New Zealander soldiers prevailed, despite being heavily outnumbered.

By the end of the battle, 18 Australians had been killed and a further 24 were wounded. This was the greatest loss of Australian lives in a single battle during the war. Mr Snowdon said we should remember and honour each of our Vietnam veterans, those of the battles of Coral-Balmoral and Binh Ba and many other engagements over that 10-year war. Today, many of 42,000 surviving veterans still carry the effects of the war and the unacceptable treatment they received on their return home. A range of support services are available through the Australian Government including the VVCS – Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service, a service founded by Vietnam veterans, providing counselling and support 24 hours a day.

Soldier evacuated to Germany

A seriously ill Australian soldier, serving in Afghanistan’s Oruzgan Province is being evacuated to Germany for medical care after being found unconscious in his room on Friday.

The soldier, suffering from a serious illness, is currently at the United States medical facility at Bagram Airbase in Afghanistan receiving the best care possible.

 

More..

Coalition would upgrade Afghanistan roll

A COALITION government would increase Australia’s troop commitment in Afghanistan and take over allied military leadership in the Oruzgun province from the Dutch.

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, in a speech to the Lowy Institute, said

“it would be a poor reflection on our defence capabilities if Australia were unable to help replace the Dutch when they leave in August this year.”

Mr Abbott said:

“If satisfied that the role made strategic sense and was compatible with our other military commitments, a Coalition would be prepared to consider doing more.”

In a later interview with The Weekend Australian, Mr Abbott confirmed that this included replacing the Dutch as the lead coalition military force in Oruzgan:

“If we could do it, I don’t see why we shouldn’t.”

This would effectively reverse decades of Australian strategic culture. Since the Vietnam War, Australian forces have not taken allied leadership responsibility in a province in any battlefield.

VC Citation now at AWM

AUSTRALIA’S latest Victoria Cross winner Trooper Mark Donaldson has presented the original citation for his VC to the Australian War Memorial.

That citation officially details the acts of heroism performed in Afghanistan in 2008, for which he received the VC, the first to an Australian in almost 40 years.

In a brief ceremony at the war memorial on Friday, he presented the citation to war memorial assistant director Nola Anderson.

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