Recently we have published two articles on the cost of living and the impacts on war widows, particularly for those on pensions. The articles published by Defence Connect and the NewsCorp media outlets call for pension review as costs continue to rise.
Board Chair, Jennifer Collins; State President Queen Dunbar and NSW Life Member, Meg Green AM join forces to call on the government to increase pensions and provide greater mental health support to war widows and their families.
The State President spoke of her personal experiences working three jobs just to make ends meet following the passing of her husband, Adam. Meg spoke of her experiences and the impacts of the rising cost of living on older war widows. In Australia today, there are at least 600,000 people connected to defence services.
With more than 43,000 war widows and 175,000 veterans on some form of financial support, the impacts on our community are significant. There are around 40,000 younger veterans who rely on invalidity benefits due to permanent injury and more than 4,000 young widows and children who rely on income support, just to make ends meet.
While the Department of Veterans Affairs maintains that pension levels are sufficient and increase with CPI; and that mental health needs of widows and their families are being met through Open Arms; we remain unconvinced and will continue our advocacy on this matter.
- What else have we been advocating on recently?
- Treatment of war widows in aged care
- The recognition of veterans’ families in the National Action Plan to End Violence Against Women and Children
- Equitable access to the DVA Family Support package
- Access to Veterans Home Care Services for war widows
- Equitable access to NSW and local government concessions for war widows
- Application of concessions
- The unmet service needs of young war widows and their children; and
- Unmet needs of veterans’ spouses, particularly those in a caring role.
More recently, we were honoured to join the NSW Government to announce that the 19th of October will be known as War Widows Day in NSW.
War widows have been part of the fabric of NSW since Australians have been serving in the Defence Forces. Today, we are very grateful to have their sacrifices recognised in perpetuity, in what is the first day that honours the significance of the sacrifices of veterans’ families.
Photo: State President, Queen Dunbar and her son, Joshua. Photo credit: Sam Ruttyn, News Corp Australia