Member for Bonner, Ross Vasta, today welcomed the restoration of Australian Government funding to assist ex-service organisations (ESOs) in continuing their important work with the local veteran community.

Mr Vasta said the Queensland RSL Manly-Lota Sub-Branch would receive $13,525 in funding under the restored Building Excellence in Support and Training (BEST) grants program.

“This funding will help Manly-Lota RSL with staff wages, the purchase of computer equipment and office supplies, and other office expenses including Internet and telephone costs,” Mr Vasta said.

“I congratulate them for the wonderful work they do for our local veterans, and thank them for their ongoing commitment to the local veteran community.”

BEST grants assist the largely voluntary ESO workforce to help the veteran and defence communities and their families access Department of Veterans’ Affairs entitlements and services.

Overall, 141 organisations will share in a total of nearly $3.8 million (GST Exclusive) in funding allocated in BEST Round 16.

Mr Vasta said this round of BEST funding included an additional $1 million reinstated as part of the 2014-2015 Budget.

“The Abbott Government has restored advocacy and support funding for the veteran community that was cut by Labor,” Mr Vasta said.

“The 2014-15 Budget provides an additional $1 million per year to the BEST programme over the forward estimates. This funding will support the work of veterans’ advocates in helping veterans, war widows and widowers to access important information and services.”

“The additional funding will support the work of veterans’ advocates, welfare officers, and pension officers right across the country and provide them with greater certainty into the future.”

The Government consulted with the ESO community to determine how best to spend the additional money and these changes have since been actioned.

 For more information on DVA grants, visit www.dva.gov.au/grants or call 133 254 (or 1800 555 254 for regional callers).

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