Monday, 8 February 2016
Statements by Members
Indi Electorate: Veterans
On 18 December 2015, the Department of Veterans' Affairs commenced a community consultation about the delivery of in-person services at the Veterans Affairs Network office in Wodonga. Kevin Smith, vice-chair, and the staff of the Hume Veterans' Information Centre in Wodonga have asked me to urge the government, and particularly the minister, to keep this office open. Why? Elderly veterans and war widows find it very difficult to travel interstate to access the nearest myGov office in Albury, and they need personal assistance to use computer equipment and to access online services. The Wodonga office provides a unique on-base advisory service to the over 5,000 Australian Defence Force personnel undergoing training at the Wodonga military area in any given year.
While I acknowledge the whole-of-government approach to concentrating services and promoting digital access, I strongly urge the minister to continue to provide in-person service to our veterans and their families in our region. The Wodonga office is a vital resource that provides responsive and accessible support to ageing veterans and war widows. I call on the minister: please, listen to the concerns of the Wodonga veterans, and when you consider the future of all veterans affairs networks and the valuable service they provide please provide local service in a timely, accessible manner.