The McGowan Government will set quotas for employing veterans in State departments as part of efforts to help members of the military transition to civilian life.

The decision comes after similar moves in other States, inside the Federal Government and in the US where governments have put in place sweeping veterans’ employment programs to demand bureaucracies focus recruitment on former military personnel.

WA Veterans’ Issues Minister Peter Tinley confirmed the WA Government would nominate a quota for employing veterans in State Government departments in June as part of a wider veterans and families strategy.

Mr Tinley — a former senior officer in the Special Air Service Regiment — said the quota was not about charity, but about ensuring State departments took steps to ensure they were drawing employees from a highly qualified and motivated group of people. “This is not about simply finding jobs for former servicemen and women, it is a productivity argument,” a spokesman for Mr Tinley said.

“The Australian Defence Force has invested hundreds of thousands of dollars into these individuals who now come to the civilian workforce highly trained, highly motivated and incredibly disciplined.

“The minister believes that there should be a quota for veterans in the public sector.”

Mr Tinley did not say what the quota would be be, or how “veteran” would be defined.

The term veteran has been expanded to include not only former military personnel who have served in combat zones, but anyone who spent any time in the Australian Defence Force.

NSW Returned and Services League president James Brown said big companies, governments and unions had made a point of employing veterans in the past after major conflicts and it was only fitting they should do so now.