City the 'ideal' place for dedicated office for veterans
IPSWICH MP Jennifer Howard wants a Queensland Office for Veterans to be established in the city, believing it to be the "ideal place" from which to co-ordinate programs for the over 50,000 former defence members across the state.
The Assistant Minister for Veterans Affairs is pushing to bring the office to Ipswich and believes it should be located in the Icon building in the city's CBD.
The State Government began its 15-year lease of the building in 2013.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the dedicated Queensland office would provide a more concentrated focus on veterans' policies and services.
Ms Howard believed with the biggest air base in the southern hemisphere at Amberley and a large contingent of military families based around Ipswich, as well as close proximity to Brisbane, it made perfect sense.
"It would give us a morale boost," she said.
"It will help boost our CBD having extra workers spending money. We've already got State Government workers in the Icon building. I do think some other regions would be keen to have it, areas like Townsville for example, but I firmly believe Ipswich is the ideal location.
"Many of our Queensland Government departments have programs that impact on veterans but there's no central co-ordination point. A dedicated office for veterans is designed to improve that collaboration and that co-ordination of veterans policy and programs across the Queensland Government.
"Some of the functions of an office for veterans have been informed by similar offices in Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia, so having it here in Queensland is a really good fit. We've got the second largest population of veterans in Australia after New South Wales."
The Premier said her government had set a target to find jobs for 100 former service people within the public sector.
"I am pleased to say we have exceeded our target and, at last count, have found work for 216 former members of the ADF," she said.
"Some have stayed in uniform becoming firefighters and police but there are also teachers and builders, youth workers, some beginning careers in Transport and Main Roads and Queensland Health.
"The biggest concentration of these outside Brisbane are not surprisingly in Townsville, where 34 have found work.
"But they are also distributed across the state including Cairns and far north Queensland, the Gold Coast, Ipswich, South West Queensland, the Sunshine Coast and Toowoomba."