I rise to talk about the veterans community and some of the great work that is being done to support our veterans, both young and old. Since we last assembled in this place, I have attended a number of commemorations on behalf of the opposition. These events were the 66th anniversary of the Battle of Kapyong held by 3RAR Association, the RSL ANZAC youth vigil, a dawn service at Payneham RSL, the unveiling of the Australian Army nursing memorial on the Pathway of Honour, the Legacy signature event and the Australian American Association's Coral Sea commemoration service. I thank those organisations for their invitations and the beautiful, moving services.
I would also like to put on the record that I have had the opportunity in recent months to meet with representatives from Veterans SA, including director Rob Manton, who I believe does an outstanding job, and bear witness to the good work they are doing as a conduit between government and veterans. One of the organisations I would like to expand on is Legacy. Legacy does great work with families of veterans, particularly war widows and their dependent children. An extract from their website best describes exactly what Legacy does and why they are such a vital and enduring part of our veterans community:
Legacy was founded in 1923 by a group of World War I veterans. Their ideals of mateship engendered by front line service led them to recognise the need for an organisation to help the widows and children of their comrades who did not survive.
Since then, Legacy has protected the basic needs of individuals and families by; advocating for entitlements, rights and benefits; assisting families coping with bereavement and helping people thrive despite their adversity and loss; providing care and support to the families (widows, widowers, children, and disabled dependants) of our incapacitated and deceased veterans.
Legacy provides a range of social activities and essential services and support such as education expenses and dental care for children and youth, holiday respite, home maintenance, assistance with utility bills, advice and assistance with claiming pensions, financial counselling, legal advice, and much more.
The youth support Legacy provides is often critical and can make a real difference in the chances a young person has of a successful career and in life in general, chances which are often diminished by the loss of a parent.
Legacy helps families, not just in the short term— Legacy is there for life; currently caring for around 70,000 widow(er)s, and 1,900 children and disabled dependants throughout Australia.
Since Federation, more than 102,000 Australian servicemen and women have paid the ultimate sacrifice in theatres of operation around the world. Many others returned wounded—either physically or emotionally—from their exposure.
Over 72,000 Australians have served overseas since 1991 with the Australian Defence Forces involvement in conflicts such as East Timor, Iraq, Afghanistan and other areas of operational services, means that Legacy's task of supporting young families with children will be required well into the future.
Last Friday, I had the privilege of attending the new signature event at Legacy House, which was to launch Legacy's Boss Bootcamp fundraising program. Boss Bootcamp puts nominated bosses, in the form of CEOs, directors, managers, team leaders, supervisors, coaches, teachers or principals, to the test in either physical or mental challenges.
Presumably, their subordinates would pay good money to see their bosses under the pump, which I am sure we can all appreciate. The Bootcamp will be held on Friday 4 August between 10am and 2pm. I encourage anyone and everyone to sign up their bosses. I say this as I look towards the honourable Leader of the Opposition in this place, who I am sure will oblige the nomination of his party room, should it come to pass.
Further, I would like to acknowledge the work of Mark Reidy, whom I recently met. Mark is a service provider with The Road Home program, which is currently under the Repat Foundation but may no longer have a home. His great work for veterans promotes physical activity as a treatment for post-traumatic stress and other mental health issues which debilitate our veterans. Mark competed in last year's Invictus Games in Orlando and seeks to raise a strong South Australian contingent for the next Invictus Games in Sydney next year.
As a passionate advocate for sport in this place, I welcome the use of sport and physical activity as a contributing factor to the mental wellbeing of veterans. It is not just the physiological effects of sport and physical activity but also the sense of community that it can bring which is so beneficial to our veterans. I also commend the Soldier On organisation, which does good work in this space as well.
Finally, I want to make a comment on the federal budget delivered last night by the commonwealth Treasurer, the Hon. Scott Morrison. The Coalition government has delivered an extra $350 million to Veterans Affairs, including $43.3 million towards mental health treatment and suicide prevention. This is in stark contrast to the Weatherill government, which is closing the Repat, to the ire of our veterans.