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Recreation Transport Allowance

Legislative Authority

Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986
Section 104


Stated Current Purpose/Intent

To assist an eligible veteran, member of the Forces, member of a Peacekeeping Force or Australian mariner with the cost of transportation for recreation purposes.


Current Eligibility Criteria

A person with one of the following war-caused or defence-caused disabilities:

  1. both legs amputated above the knees;
  2. negligible powers of locomotion so as to be capable of moving, with the aid of crutches or walking sticks, for short distances only;
  3. in the opinion of the Commission the handicap is similar with regard to locomotion to 1 or 2 above;
  4. both arms amputated at or below the wrists;
  5. both legs amputated below the knees;
  6. one leg amputated above the knee and the other below the knee;
  7. one leg amputated above or below the knee and one arm amputated below the elbow;
  8. blinded in both eyes;
  9. in the opinion of the Commission is incapacitated in effect or severity similar to 4, 5, 6, 7 or 8 above; or
  10. in the opinion of the Commission, the handicap is similar with regard to locomotion to 4, 5, 6, 7 or 8 above.



  1. Recreation transport allowance (RTA) is paid at the lower and higher rate.  Higher rate is payable for items 1-3 (inclusive) and the lower rate is payable for the other items.
  2. RTA may not be payable:
  • in respect of any period during which the veteran is being cared for at "public expense" in a hospital or other institution (In O'Donnell v. Repatriation Commission  [unreported, 18 October 1993], the Federal Court held: "A veteran can properly be said to be a veteran who is being cared for, at public expense, in a hospital or other institution only if it can be said of him that the expense of his care in the hospital or other institution, that is to say the whole of that expense, is being met from the public purse".); or
  • in certain circumstances, where the veteran has participated in, or is participating in, the Vehicle Assistance Scheme.


Date of Introduction



Original Purpose/Intent

In 1957, the Cabinet approved a recommendation by the Minister that the Repatriation Commission be empowered to provide or arrange suitable transport for recreation under Departmental medical advice for soldiers totally and permanently incapacitated as a result of spinal, head, pelvic or hip injury, organic cerebral or spinal disease, and to double amputees at or above the knee, whose means of locomotion were permanently restricted to wheeled chairs or cots.


Significant Changes in Criteria or Purpose Since Introduction


Eligibility extended to veterans with disabilities affecting both knees.


Lower level of allowance provided for veterans with one leg amputated above, and one leg below, the knee.


Eligibility extended to veterans with amputation of both arms at or above the wrist.


Lower level of allowance extended to veterans with:

  • amputation of both legs below the knees;
  • loss of one arm at or above the wrist and loss of one leg above or below the knee;
  • disablement having similar effects to the designated incapacities.

Eligibility extended to blinded veterans.


From 1 July 1994 the SWPA Act and Regulations were repealed and Australian mariners became eligible under the VEA on the same basis as veterans.


The standards used to determine blindness under the VEA were brought into line with those used by Department of Human Services and other government agencies.  This meant that the blindness standards for a veterans to be classified as permanently blind changed from a visual acuity of less than or equal to 3/60 in both eyes to a visual acuity of less than or equal to 6/60 in both eyes.