SENATE INQUIRY CALLS FOR INCREASE IN TPI PAYMENT

SHAYNE NEUMANN MP.
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5 months ago
SENATE INQUIRY CALLS FOR INCREASE IN TPI PAYMENT
SHAYNE NEUMANN MP
Labor has welcomed the recommendation of a Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee Inquiry that the Totally and Permanently Incapacitated (TPI) Payment for disabled veterans be increased. 
 
The Inquiry was established by Labor on 18 March 2021 to examine the adequacy of the TPI Payment (Special Rate of Disability Pension) and the case for an increase in the payment. 
 
The Committee included both Government and Labor Senators, as well as independent Senator Jacqui Lambie, and its report was adopted unanimously.   
 
In its deliberations, the Inquiry noted that a number of government reviews of the TPI Payment in recent years, including a 2019 review by Mr David Tune AO PSM (Tune Review), concluded that an increase in the payment was not warranted and recommended more targeted assistance instead.
 
However, the Inquiry recognised that these reviews factored in other benefits, such as the Service Pension and other payments, when considering the adequacy of support provided to TPI pensioners.
 
The Committee found that submitters ‘made a persuasive case for a fair and just structural increase in the AGR [Above General Rate] component of the TPI Payment to help restore the relative value of the payment and recognise and replace TPI veterans’ loss of income’.
 
In support of this, the Committee noted that in a letter to the Australian Federation of Totally and Permanently Incapacitated Ex-Servicemen and Women (TPI Federation) of 2 April 2019, committing the Government to the Tune Review, the Prime Minister stated:
 
‘The TPI Federation makes a compelling case in relation to the relative value of the Above the General Rate (AGR) component of the SRDP [Special Rate of Disability Pension]. The fact that TPI veterans are not able to earn an income as a result of their service to our nation means that their loss of income during what would have been their working life should be appropriately recognised and replaced.’
 
In addition, in a Senate Estimates hearing on 26 October 2020, the Secretary of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA), Ms Liz Cosson AM CSC, conceded that Scott Morrison’s letter had raised expectations that the Government would increase the TPI Payment, and the TPI Federation made a strong argument for an increase.
 
Further, in evidence before the Committee, DVA officials did not attempt to defend the Government’s position and response to the Tune Review and agreed that the level of compensation for TPI veterans was inadequate.
 
Based on all the submissions and evidence provided at a public hearing, the Committee recommended that the Government consider an increase in the TPI Payment, with the Government to consider the exact level of that increase. 
 
Labor is calling on the Government to respond to the Committee’s unanimous recommendation, which would benefit Australia’s 27,000 TPI veterans.
 
The report is available on the Committee’s website: 
https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Foreign_Affairs_Defence_and_Trade/TPIPayments   
 
COMMENTS ATTRIBUTABLE TO SHAYNE NEUMANN MP, SHADOW MINISTER FOR VETERANS’ AFFAIRS AND DEFENCE PERSONNEL:
 
‘TPI veterans have been raising the issue of the TPI Payment for several years now and they believe the Liberal-National Government has completely ignored them. 
 
‘This is why Labor listened and referred this issue to an independent Senate Inquiry, so that TPI veterans could have their say. 
 
‘We are pleased the Inquiry has found that an increase in the TPI Payment is warranted, so that our most disabled veterans are not left behind.
 
‘Former Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Darren Chester previously agreed in-principle that an increase is necessary, and Liberal Senator and former Major-General Jim Molan has said this is the most deserving issue in the veteran community.
 
‘The Government needs to respond to the Inquiry’s recommendation and do the right thing by Australia’s 27,000 TPI veterans.’
 
Veteran Affairs