Mark Coulton MP, Federal Member for Parkes

Coulton’s catch-up for week ending 28 October

Sunday, 29 October 2017

$31 million in additional funding for veteran mental health

The Nationals-Liberal Government will provide an additional $31 million to support veterans’ mental health as part of its response to the Senate Inquiry into veterans’ suicide.
We best honour the diggers of 1917 by ensuring our veterans in 2017 receive the support they need and deserve. When someone stops serving their country it is their country’s turn to start serving them.
The Government has made veterans mental health a priority. An additional $58.6 million in mental health funding was provided in this year’s Budget.
The Government will provide:
• $16.1 million over four years for a new Veteran Payment for financial vulnerable veterans claiming mental health conditions; 
• $7.1 million over four years to extend support for families of veterans; 
• $2.1 million over four years for an annual health assessment for ex-serving ADF members for the first five years post-discharge; 
• $4.0 million over two years to pilot a case management service for transitioning or recently discharged ADF members;
• $1.7 million over two years to undertake a scoping study to professionalise veterans’ advocacy.
Mental health treatment works best when a veteran can get help early so the Government has made the treatment of any mental health condition free for anyone who has served one day in the fulltime ADF. The Government will now provide a DVA White Card to access mental health treatment through this program to all personnel leaving the military.

Positive trends in higher education
The Government has welcomed new data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) that highlights positive trends in higher education as well as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education outcomes. A growing proportion of Australians with post-secondary qualifications is now paying direct dividends. Australians understand the value of education and we’re backing them every step of the way. Having more highly skilled Australians helps create more high-skilled opportunities. As more people look to take advantage of the world class institutions we have in Australia, we’ve been boosting our investment in higher education. Our spending as a percentage of GDP on higher education increased to 1.6 per cent compared to the OECD average of 1.4 per cent. The increase in higher education funding in Australia between 2005 and 2014 was the third highest in the OECD. Combined with our $1.5 billion Skilling Australians Fund to support 300,000 apprenticeships, our new VET Student Loans program and our reforms to universities to boost student outcomes, the commitment to higher education is clear. Our new schools funding arrangements will also increase support for Indigenous students with an additional $4.3 billion over the coming decade. Ultimately, everything we’re doing is about helping more Indigenous students to finish year 12, to go on to further education or training and into employment.

Vigilance at the nation’s airports
The safety of all Australians is the Government’s highest priority and the travelling public can be assured that we are constantly reviewing security settings at airports. The latest report from the Infrastructure and Regional Development department confirms the risk from terrorism requires constant vigilance and a willingness to adapt to counter new or emerging threats. The Office of Transport Security works closely with intelligence agencies in Australia and overseas, along with the aviation industry, to maintain high standards of safety for air travellers. This latest report from the Office of Transport Security provides the security outlook to 2025 and confirms the need for constant vigilance to counter new and emerging threats. 

The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) is calling for submissions for the next round of Australian Government funding to support industry-led safety projects.
The first two rounds of the program have seen $7.72 million invested in 17 projects to improve safety for heavy vehicle drivers, operators and general road users. 
The Heavy Vehicle Safety Initiative is entering the third funding round with $3.89 million available to support a wide range of projects.
There were 212 fatalities involving heavy vehicles across Australia in 2016-17 and we are continuing to work hard to ensure that number continues to decline.
Governments and agencies don’t have all the answers, which is why we want to hear from anyone who has a program, education, or information materials that can provide a tangible safety benefit.
Applications are open until February 23, 2018. Projects will be presented to the Transport and Infrastructure Council for consideration in May 2018. For more information visit www.nhvr.gov.au/hvsi

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Mark coulton MP, Federal Member for the ELECTORATE Of Parkes

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