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August 23, 2016

Gippsland veterans will continue to receive the support and advice they need, with the Federal Government providing funding for an essential advocacy and welfare service.

Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester said Gippsland Veterans Welfare Centre, based in Sale, would share in about $70,000 in Commonwealth funding, including $34,000 for the Vietnam Veterans Association of Australia (VVAA) Advocate Program.

Mr Chester said the funding would be provided through a Building Excellent in Support and Training (BEST) grant.

“Gippsland Veterans Support Centre is at the forefront of providing support for local veterans and their families. It is important they get the financial assistance they need to do their job effectively,” Mr Chester said.

“The funding goes towards paying for trained advocates and pension staff, and maintaining the office operations so when veterans, or a loved one, calls their local support service, help will be available.

“As we mark the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan, it is important we as a community remember our ongoing responsibility to ensure our veteran community is adequately supported.”

Gippsland Veterans Welfare Centre President Ed Jones said ex-service organisations made a real difference to the lives of veterans.

“While we commemorate those who died fighting for our freedom, it is equally important we remember and help those people whose lives were changed forever after leaving military service,” Mr Jones said.

“Our job is to help alleviate the hardship faced by many people in the local veteran community, and advocate on their behalf for support or advice.

“The Gippsland Veterans Welfare Centre has a proud history of helping local veterans and their families. This Commonwealth funding will ensure we can continue this work.”

Mr Chester made the announcement with Mr Jones, while attending the 50th Anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan service at Sale Cenotaph on Saturday.

Mr Chester said the Federal Government had also contributed $1500 to bring together Vietnam veterans from Sale, Bairnsdale and the wider region, at the commemorative luncheon.

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