The Minister for Defence Stephen Smith today announced a major initiative to enhance support for the families of Australian Defence Force (ADF) members who have been killed or seriously injured while serving the nation.
The Government will provide a $14 million grant to the newly established Legacy Services Trust, which will be administered by Legacy Australia, for the benefit of the families of those killed or wounded while serving their country, with a priority in the first instance on service in Afghanistan.
The Legacy Services Trust has been established to provide assistance to Australian Defence Force personnel not covered by the terms of the existing Special Air Services (SAS) Resources Trust or the Commando Welfare Trust.
The SAS Resources Trust was established in 1996 to provide relief to current and former members of the SAS Regiment and their dependants, who have died or become disabled as a result of operational service or in training. In 2009, the Government provided a grant of $10 million to the Trust to enable it to continue its work in assisting the families of the deceased or disabled members of the SAS Regiment, with a particular focus on supporting the educational needs of their children.
The Commando Welfare Trust was established in 2011. In November 2011, the Trust benefited from an $8 million grant from the Government to support initial emergency funding and long term financial requirements of families of Commandos and supporting Special Operations Command members in times of hardship.
The establishment of the Legacy Services Trust means that enhanced support will now be available for the families of all ADF members who are killed or incapacitated on operations.
The Trust will have a particular focus in the first instance on the families of soldiers killed or incapacitated in action in Afghanistan.
Legacy is a charity which has operated within the Australian community since World War I.
Legacy now provides crucial services to Australian families suffering financially and socially after the death or incapacitation of a spouse or parent, during or after their service as a member of the ADF.
Legacy currently cares for 100,000 widows and 1,900 children and disabled dependants across Australia.
This includes families who have lost loved ones in Afghanistan, as well as families and members of the ADF who have incurred serious injury while serving in the ADF.
The Trust allows for considerable flexibility in providing assistance. Support to families could include the education of children, and support to a widow or widower to enable them to rejoin the workforce.
Mr Smith - Ellen Shields: 0400 347 473
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