Opinion – Ross Eastgate, Townsville Bulletin 10th August 2017
TWO years ago the ambitious but hapless Stuart Robert was given a dual responsibility as minister for both Veterans’ Affairs and Human Services.
Veterans were rightly concerned Canberra bureaucrats had finally achieved their longheld ambition to subsume veterans entitlements into the wider health and welfare pool.
If that was indeed the plan, Robert’s personal ineptitude scuppered his ministerial career and the two ministries were again separated.
As reported in the Bulletin this week, social media last weekend exploded with rumours DVA would be disbanded and its dependencies shifted to the Department of Human Services.
On Monday Veterans’ Affairs minister Dan Tehan issued a press release insisting the Government was committed to a stand-alone Department of Veterans’ Affairs.
“There are no plans to merge DVA with the Department of Human Services,” Mr Tehan said.
“There is no meeting planned for this week and there is no agreement to be signed in the near future to subsume DVA into DHS.”
It is not strictly true for the minister to claim that the DVA is a stand-alone agency. It has for some time increasingly sourced services from other agencies and contracted providers.