Govt vet support targets suicide reduction

A new payment for veterans awaiting the outcome of liability claims for mental health conditions will aim to reduce the risk of veteran suicide, Veterans Affairs Minister Michael McCormack says.

The measure is the government response to a Senate inquiry report claiming existing military compensation schemes may contribute to the suicide risk of ex-service personnel.

More than 800 veterans and almost 700 partners are expected to be eligible for the payment in 2018/19.

Mr McCormack also introduced a proposal to spend $7.1 million over four years to support veterans and their families in the form of child care, home care and counselling.

"These veterans have given so much to our country and it is only right we support those who have made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our great nation and our way of life," the minister told parliament on Thursday.

Changes include increasing child care assistance to veterans receiving incapacity payments, as well as to the partners of veterans who died in conflict or by suicide, and for intervention counselling for up to five years for veterans and their families.

"Families play an essential role in a veteran's health and wellbeing and this bill will ensure vital services such as income support and health care (to) help veterans and their families transitioning into civilian life," Mr McCormack said.

More than 5000 people leave Australia's defence service each year, he said.

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