POWs get monetary recognition

PRISONERS of war will be recognised by the Gillard Government for their service and sacrifice with the introduction of a recognition supplement of $500 a fortnight.

The announcement by Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Veterans’ Affairs Minister Warren Snowden has been welcomed by the Member for Page Janelle Saffin.

Ms Saffin said the new Prisoner of War (POW) Recognition Supplement of an extra $500 a fortnight would be in addition to current benefits available to former POWs.

“This is long overdue recognition for POWs, some of whom I have had the pleasure and honour of meeting during veterans’ functions across the electorate,” she said.

“These are special men; they deserve our gratitude and respect for their service to Australia during the Second World War and Korean War, and for having to endure the cruelty and deprivations in the POW camps.

“Their numbers may be dwindling with the passage of time but there are more than 900 former POWs nationwide, and up to 400 of them living in New South Wales.”

Twenty-one former POWs from the Second World War and Korean War joined Ms Gillard and Mr Snowdon for the announcement at Kirribilli House.

Ms Gillard said the payment acknowledged the severe hardship suffered by our former POWs.

POWs were subjected to horrific conditions and many returned home with physical and psychological scars that will stay with them for the rest of their lives.

Mr Snowden paid tribute to the diggers who looked out for their mates while in the POW camps, saying they reflected the Aussie spirit of which we are all so proud.

The supplement, which will cost $27.2 million during the next four years, will be introduced from September.

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