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Veterans’ Advocacy and Support Services Scoping Study

The submission to the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) regarding the Veterans’ Advocacy and Support Services Scoping Study Discussion Paper (DP) was prepared by the Law Council of Australia. The Law Council acknowledges the assistance of the Military Justice Committee of the Federal Litigation and Dispute Resolution Section (MJC) and the Law Society of South Australia in the preparation of this submission.

The Law Council notes that the estimate mentioned in the introduction of the DP, that in the Australian community there are 320,000 veterans who have been deployed is made in the context of many thousands more veterans who were never deployed outside Australia or saw themselves as veterans. In Section 1 of the DP the DVA acknowledges that although it has no detailed figures for the number of volunteer advocates, a figure of 1600 is estimated based on grants distributed to Ex-Service Organisations (ESOs).

This figure is repeated in Section 6 in the context of the Advocacy Training and Development Program (ATDP) – a tripartite programme conducted by DVA, the Department of Defence (DoD), and the ESO community. This program is introducing accredited training for veterans’ advocacy and is also accessible by professional advocates. The programme has accredited 400 advocates and has 500 in training. There is no mention of the remaining 700 of the estimated 1600 advocates.

Considering these figures, the Law Council makes the following observations and suggestions regarding several of the issues raised in the DP.

You can read the full submission below.

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