Dedicated office for veterans coming to Ipswich
A SINGLE point of contact for veterans organisations to help cut through sometimes cumbersome bureaucratic red tape is coming to Ipswich.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced the new dedicated Office for Veterans will be based in the city, crediting "extensive lobbying" by Ipswich MP and Assistant Minister for Veterans' Affairs Jennifer Howard.
It will serve as Queensland's first central co-ordination point for veterans, providing an smoother line of communication between groups and the State Government.
The office will support and expand the Government's Veterans' Employment Pathway Program, which has found employment for 388 veterans in the public sector since launching in July last year, including nine positions in Ipswich.
"Jennifer made it quite clear to me that there are advantages to having the Office for Veterans in Ipswich," Ms Palaszczuk said.
"Ipswich is a well-established defence hub and home to Australia's largest RAAF base and Rheinmetall Defence Australia's new headquarters, making it an ideal location to lead whole-of-government co-ordination on veterans' matters."
Goodna RSL Sub Branch president Tim Moroney welcomed the news, saying veterans were "not getting enough" assistance.
"It brings it closer to a lot of veterans in this area," he said.
"I'm not overly pleased with a lot of things that are happening with veterans; what they're getting and what they're not getting compared to what I believe they should.
"I'm glad they're coming here. They're really struggling to look after a lot of (veterans)."
Department of Veterans' Affairs men's health peer educator and Vietnam veteran Ian Dainer said the office would benefit the large contingent of both retired and serving members of the military.
"Often for the people transitioning out of full time service, once they leave defence they then sometimes struggle to find their way through the bureaucracy," he said.
"So having a state government body in town, to complement work done by the RSL is a very good thing.
"Veterans' affairs is a federal matter. Once you get down to helping with housing, accommodation and employment... day-to-day things... (it is dealt with by) state agencies. To have a liasion at state government level that can put veterans and stated based agencies together is very good for (Ipswich). When you're talking to someone in Canberra or Adelaide, they can find it hard to understand what's happening in Springfield."
Ms Howard said the move "made sense" and hailed it as a "real win" for Ipswich, with the office set for the CBD.
It is expected to be in place by early next year.
"We're a growing region and we need this kind of support from the Government," she said.
"About 5000 people are employed at Amberley airbase and this will allow greater support for our growing defence community.
"Having extra workers in the CBD will be a real economic benefit to our community.
"There's a lot of Queensland Government departments that have an impact on veterans issues. But there's never been a central co-ordination point in Queensland."