Budget boost for OTs supporting veterans – Speech in the House of Representatives 13/05/21

Hansard 13/05/2021  House of Representatives

Mr LLEW O’BRIEN (Wide Bay—Deputy Speaker) (13:31):  This year’s budget has delivered a big win for occupational therapists caring for our veterans.

The $61 million will see a significant fee increase for nearly 10,000 occupational therapists treating some 244,000 veterans and war widows across the country.

This change is a direct result of a campaign by Occupational Therapy Australia, along with the many veterans who saw their occupational therapists being paid a lower rate when working for DVA than other government agencies such as the NDIS.

For me, the push to fix this injustice began with Vietnam veteran Robert ‘Blue’ Bellis and his occupational therapist, Donna Griffin, who has made a profound difference to his daily life and independence.

Veterans like ‘Blue’ never stopped fighting for their mates, and today their mates include the OTs who diligently and compassionately care for them.

Veterans from all over the country wrote to my office, taking up the cause on behalf of their OTs. I took it to Canberra and I’m pleased that Canberra did listen.

I want to thank Occupational Therapy Australia, Donna Griffin and ‘Blue’ Bellis.

I really do want to thank Peter Dutton, the Minister for Defence; the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Darren Chester; and especially Assistant Minister for Defence, Andrew Hastie, who came to Wide Bay to hear from nearly 100 veterans when he visited last week.

(ENDS)