War veterans criticise changes to military pensions

FURIOUS: Vietnam Veterans Association of Australia Bribie Island and District Sub-branch member Keith Winfield and secretary Jock Young are angry at the Federal Government’s proposed changes to military pensions.
FURIOUS: Vietnam Veterans Association of Australia Bribie Island and District Sub-branch member Keith Winfield and secretary Jock Young are angry at the Federal Government’s proposed changes to military pensions. Jorge Branco

BRIBIE Island war veterans have lashed out at proposed changes to military pensions they say fly in the face of a reform to military superannuation announced just three months ago.

In March, veterans were celebrating the Federal Government's decision to index military superannuation against the average male wage as well as the Consumer Price Index, meaning the payment would increase more quickly.

But now Bribie Island veteran Keith Winfield and many others are furious at plans to do the opposite with other military benefits including the service and disability pensions.

These pensions have been indexed against the higher of the average male wage and CPI but the Coalition plans to index pensions against CPI only from 2017.

"This wasn't talked about before the election," Mr Winfield said. "All they were talking about was 'this is what we will do for veterans'."

In March, Member for Longman Wyatt Roy welcomed the introduction of "fair indexation" for the Defence Force Retirement Benefits scheme and Defence Force Retirement and Death Benefits scheme superannuation pensions.

Earlier this week he promised this indexation would continue forever but stood by the change to other pensions.

"For the 1046 (pensioners in Longman on DFRDB and DFRB) that we've had a very long campaign for we are delivering exactly what we promised and that will remain in perpetuity," he said.

"(The other) pensions will still increase."

Vietnam Veterans Association of Australia national president Ken Foster said the pension change would negatively affect many more people than the superannuation adjustment helped.

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