SHAYNE NEUMANN MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR VETERANS’ AFFAIRS AND DEFENCE PERSONNEL
MEMBER FOR BLAIR
MERYL SWANSON MP
SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR DEFENCE
MEMBER FOR PATERSON
FEDERAL LABOR IS BACKING VETERANS AND DEFENCE PERSONNEL IN THE HUNTER
A future Labor Government will invest in defence personnel and veterans in the Port Stephens and Maitland region by providing $5 million in funding for a new Veteran Wellbeing Centre.
Shadow Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Defence Personnel Shayne Neumann said a new veteran hub to be located in Paterson would be a one-stop shop for veterans and their families to access a range of services, including transition, wellbeing support, advocacy, employment and housing assistance, and social connection.
“The centre will be a family-friendly space, and provide peer-to-peer support for younger veterans and their families, bringing together critical services under one roof," Mr Neumann said.
“We want to see a facility run by veterans, for veterans, that’s inclusive and easily accessible for all ex-service men and women in the community.
“There has been an increased need for support services in the region as a result of long wait times for veteran claims, the Royal Commission into defence and veteran suicide, and Australia’s withdrawal from the conflict in Afghanistan last year.
“This $5 million commitment is about providing practical support on the ground for our defence personnel and veterans, and their families who may be doing it tough.
“A number of veterans and ex-service organisations in the area, together with local Member Meryl Swanson, have advocated for this for some time – Labor has listened to this feedback and responded with this commitment,” Mr Neumann said.
Federal Member for Paterson Meryl Swanson said a new centre would be a much-needed addition to the Port Stephens and Maitland region, but would also benefit veterans right across the Hunter.
“This commitment from Labor will support veterans and their families across the Hunter, as well as ADF members posted to RAAF Base Williamtown in my electorate," Ms Swanson said.
“It could also provide support for other groups in the community, like first responders, including police and emergency services personnel.
“The key to the new veteran support centre would be listening to the local community to design a tailored service that meets their needs.
“If elected, Labor will continue to consult with the local ex-service community on how to best support them and their families with this facility, and to determine an appropriate lead organisation, location and delivery model for the centre.
“Only Labor is on the side of veterans and families in Paterson and the Hunter, and we will give them the services they need and deserve,” Ms Swanson said.
Paterson is home to around 4,900 veterans and families, while more than 12,000 veterans and families live in the wider Hunter region, one of the highest concentrations in the country.