Pilot program extending legal support for Queensland veterans
Published Friday, 24 March, 2023 at 12:15 PM
Premier and Minister for the Olympic and Paralympic Games
The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk
Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Minister for Women and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence
The Honourable Shannon Fentiman
Minister for Resources
The Honourable Scott Stewart
Assistant Minister to the Premier for Veterans’ Affairs, Trade and COVID Economic Recovery
Mr Bart Mellish
- Palaszczuk Government’s $600,000 Veterans’ Legal Service pilot program officially launched
- The program is being delivered over a 24-month period
- Townsville Community Law is delivering the service, under an agreement with the Department of Justice and Attorney-General.
Queensland veterans and their families now have greater access to claims advocacy and legal assistance services through a $600,000 legal assistance pilot program being delivered by the Palaszczuk Government.
Under the program, funding has been allocated to Townsville Community Law for the delivery of a new service that improves veterans’ access to legal assistance, including legal issues experienced by veterans during their transition to civilian life.
The pilot program is also able to help with legal issues experienced by veterans as a consequence of their service and assist with access to veterans’ statutory entitlements.
The Veterans’ Legal Service assisted 69 clients between its commencement in April 2022 and 31 December 2022.
More than 160 legal assistance services have been provided to these clients, including 62 legal advices, 19 legal tasks and six Court/Tribunal representation services.
The program is accessible through The Oasis Townsville, a community hub providing a safe space for people with shared experiences to connect with each other and the wider community. Outreach services are also available to Cairns and Mackay.
The Government has committed $10 million over four years to support veterans through grants for major and minor capital works, outreach services to address veteran homelessness and support to strengthen employment pathways.
Quotes attributable to the Premier and Minister for the Olympic and Paralympic Games Annastacia Palaszczuk:
“For many veterans, navigating legal matters and accessing Commonwealth entitlements and compensation can be a challenging process.
“Following our commitment at the 2020 election, our government is pleased to support the new pilot program, which relieves financial hardship by expanding the legal support offered to veterans.
“I’d like to thank our Townsville MPs Scott Stewart, Aaron Harper and Les Walker for their advocacy for this important initiative.”
Quotes attributable to the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Minister for Women and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence Shannon Fentiman:
“I am proud of the Government’s commitment to supporting Queensland veterans and their families through the delivery of the Veterans’ Legal Services 24-month pilot program.
“Through this pilot program, veterans and their families can benefit from free and independent legal advice across a range of issues.
“Townsville Community Law has been providing free and accessible legal services to those in need in the North Queensland community for more than 25 years.
“This pilot program allows Townsville Community Law to engage with the local veterans’ community and provide services – including legal advice, support and advocacy – for a range of legal issues experienced by veterans during their transition to civilian life, or as a consequence of their service.”
Quotes attributable to Member for Mundingburra Les Walker:
"With Townsville being Australia's largest garrison city, we know that many veterans call our community home,” Mr Walker said.
“This new program ensures our veterans can access the support they need right here in Townsville.”
Quotes attributable to Member for Townsville Scott Stewart:
“Transitioning from military to civilian life can be challenging, and veterans often face unique legal issues during this period,” Mr Stewart said.
“This program will help ensure our veterans and their families receive support and assistance when they need it most.”
Quotes attributable to Member for Thuringowa Aaron Harper:
“Our veterans are true heroes, and we owe them an immeasurable debt of gratitude,” Mr Harper said.
“I have been a long time supporter of Oasis so it is great to see further support for veterans in our local community.”
Quotes attributable to Assistant Minister to the Premier for Veterans’ Affairs and COVID Economic Recovery Bart Mellish:
“With a significant population of current and former defense personnel, the proud garrison city of Townsville is the ideal location to host the pilot program.
“Through the launch of this accessible new program, we’re demonstrating our appreciation and care for Queensland’s veterans’ community and providing a clear pathway for veterans to better understand their options and to take control of their financial future.”
Quote attributable to Aaron Finn, Director of Townsville Community Law:
“The Veterans’ Legal Service offers a holistic, place-based entry point to help veterans with what are frequently clustered legal issues,” Mr Finn said.
“These issues, if unaddressed, can lead to chronic vulnerabilities such as poverty, homelessness and mental health impacts.”
For more information about Queensland Government Office for veterans, visit the Queensland Veterans’ Portal at www.qld.gov.au/veterans.
Media contact – Natarjsha Kramer 0456 436 934