Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

Harding Backs Veteran Centre; Shayne Says Unfunded Project 'Pie in Sky'

Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

Harding Backs Veteran Centre; Shayne Says Unfunded Project 'Pie in Sky'

Article excerpt

TERESA Harding has vowed to fight for $1 million in funding for a veterans' recovery centre in Ipswich if elected today.

The LNP candidate for Blair has received the backing of Senator Barry O'Sullivan, who said he would do his level best to ensure the funding was delivered if Ms Harding was not successful in her own campaign, even though it has not been budgeted for by the Coalition.

The plan has received the support of Ipswich returned serviceman Michael Blaine, who is also an Ipswich RSL Sub-branch member.

Blair MP Shayne Neumann said "a veterans centre in Ipswich is a good thing" but noted that the project was unfunded and unbudgeted, and therefore "pie in the sky".

Mr Neumann said Ms Harding's "cynical tactic" was raising veterans' hopes on the cusp of an election with no funds in the budget.

Ms Harding said that in the electorate of Blair there were more than 2000 military members and more than 3500 veterans.

"We are finding the young veterans don't have enough support as they transition after coming back from conflict," she said

"So I am giving a commitment that if I am elected, with the help of Barry O'Sullivan, we will get $1 million for a veterans' recovery centre here in Ipswich."

Ms Harding, formerly in the army herself, said she would work closely with ex-service organisations and RSLs to get the right mix in the centre including services such as physical rehabilitation, psychological services, employment, reskilling and education services, advocacy support and family respite.

Mr Blaine, who spent 23 years in the army in places such as Somalia and East Timor, is a Totally and Permanently Incapacitated pensioner and volunteers for the RSL as a pensions and welfare advocate.

"This (recovery centre) is very much needed," he said.

"There are so many young veterans out there who need a place to go and people to talk to in order to get the information they need.

"We need to have one central area where they can meet and relate to other veterans and get the psychological and family support services they need. …

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