Local Veterans' Affairs Office Under Threat

Call On Abbott Government to Guarantee VET Services

Sharon Bird, Federal Member for Cunningham, and Stephen Jones, Federal Member for Throsby, today called on the Abbott Government to guarantee the future of the shopfront DVA Veterans’ Access Network (VAN) service in Wollongong which provides many important services for our veterans, widows, widowers and families of veterans.

“Stephen and I convened a meeting today with the Shadow Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Senator the Hon Don Farrell, and Glenn Kolomeitz, a veteran, barrister, pro bono veterans’ advocate and Vice President of Gerringong RSL Sub- Branch to discuss the proposed closures,” Sharon Bird said.

“While there is a consultation process taking place, we are concerned that the Department has already made the decision to close down local offices and the current consultations are not a genuine attempt to get community feedback,” Stephen Jones said.

“The closure of the Wollongong office would be of great concern to local veterans and their families who are entitled to receive quality care following service to our country,” Sharon Bird said.

“Sharon and I organised the meeting with Don Farrell to talk about the future of local VAN services.  Wollongong and Gosford have been identified as two regions in New South Wales where the provision of shopfront offices for veterans are under threat,” Stephen Jones said.

In the meeting Mr Kolomeitz outlined why our veterans deserve to have a dedicated office to assist and advise on matters including disabilities, mental health and general health issues, financial assistance, transport problems and grants for local veteran organisations.

“We call on the Government to guarantee that the local VAN office in Wollongong will not be closed,” Sharon Bird and Stephen Jones concluded.

24 March 2014