The Community and Public Sector Union, which represents members in the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA), welcomes Labor’s commitment to address critical staff shortages in the department.

Labor’s announcement that, if elected, they will convert 1,000 labour hire contractors to permanent employment at DVA and create an additional 500 DVA jobs will go a long way to addressing problems that have plagued the department for years.

CPSU members in DVA have been raising the alarm on the impact of understaffing and under-resourcing by the current Coalition Government on the department’s ability to deliver the comprehensive support that veterans need and deserve.

Our members have detailed shocking levels of staff burnout and stress, high staff turnover and a workforce that has been de-skilled.

At the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide, DVA Secretary Liz Cosson acknowledged what CPSU members have been saying for years – that the Coalition Government’s cap on staffing, and increased use of costly casual and labour hire contracts has created a growing backlog of veterans’ claims, which now stands at 65,000.

When asked whether she believed the backlog, and resulting delays, contributed to an increased risk of veteran suicide, Ms Cosson said she believed it did.

It is deeply distressing for our members to have been ignored by the government for so long.

We welcome the announcement that an elected Labor Government would take action on these critical issues and allow DVA to hire and support the additional staff it desperately needs.

Quotes attributable to CPSU Deputy President, Brooke Muscat:

“The CPSU welcomes Labor’s commitment to take action on critical understaffing and under-resourcing in DVA.

“For years, the Coalition Government has ignored the warnings of our members in DVA about the risk to the mental health and lives of veterans caused by understaffing, delays and veterans’ claim backlogs.

“Veterans and DVA workers deserve real commitments to address these issues and properly staff this vital agency to allow it to deliver the support veterans need.

“That’s why we welcome Labor’s announcement today.”

Media Contact: Liz Bower 0408 405 121

Download the CPSU submission to the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide