VITAL SERVICE: Judith Smith, Peter Ryan, Teresa Harding and James McGrath take a look at the veteran support centre in Lowood.
VITAL SERVICE: Judith Smith, Peter Ryan, Teresa Harding and James McGrath take a look at the veteran support centre in Lowood. Inga Williams

$160,000 to help recover from the horrors of war

VETERANS in Ipswich and Somerset have received more than $160,000 to help recover from the horrors of war.

LNP candidate for Blair and previous Defence employee Teresa Harding joined Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister Senator James McGrath last week to meet with veterans at Lowood RSL Sub-Branch.

The Building Excellence in Support and Training (BEST) Grant will go towards funding advocates who will help veterans through the complex process of applying for assistance, ensuring they get the funding and support they need.

With tears in her eyes, an emotional Mrs Harding reflected on her personal experiences with veterans struggling after returning home from conflict.

"As the wife of a serving member of the Royal Australian Air Force, and having listened to veterans and ex-service communities I understand how important this funding is," she said.

"When people leave the ADF when they've got issues, whether that's mental or physical, they need to put a claim in to the Department of Veteran Affairs and it gets quite confusing.

"There are three pieces of legislation involved so we provide advocates to help people navigate through that mine field.

"I'm proud to stand here today as a result of lobbying the former Veterans Affairs Minister in conjunction with the Lowood RSL to say the Turnbull Government is delivering $164,344 to support defence advocates.

"I'd love to fight for a full veterans recovery centre close to the (RAAF) Base here. It's long overdue."

Speaking from the Lowood support base, RSL Sub-Branch president Peter Ryan said he hoped the building would be open and operational by May 28.

"We've finally got somewhere professional. We've got a hub," he said.

Mr Ryan said the new Lowood location would provide those suffering from PTSD and depression with a quiet area to come and get the help they needed.

He said the funding would also be used for cars to travel to homes of Defence members who could not travel due to mental or physical health issues.

"This funding is needed because they want people to do their own (applications) but they're not experienced enough to know the legislation," he said.

"What happens is they start the process online, put statements in and don't put full amounts of what they do and how they do it. We can help them start the process (and) do the claim."

While sharing a coffee with RSL Sub-Branch members, Senator James McGrath said their contribution must never be forgotten.

"Service men and women both past and present make a contribution like no other, defending our freedoms and liberties at home and abroad - a service for which we should all be eternally grateful," he said.

"I think we can do more for those serving, those who have served and their families."



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