In a statement today, RSL Queensland State President Tony Ferris has welcomed the Australian Government’s announcement of a Royal Commission into Veteran Suicide and the appointment of a National Commissioner responsible for implementing its recommendations.
“Australia’s veterans need and deserve immediate government action to address the many factors which lead them to take their own lives,” Mr Ferris said.
“Urgent establishment of the Royal Commission, backed by the appointment of a National Commissioner to ensure its findings are implemented into the future, will be a substantial step towards reconciling the debt our nation owes our brave service personnel.”
Mr Ferris said RSL Queensland looked forward to reviewing the Royal Commission’s draft Terms of Reference and urged the Commissioner to broadly consult veterans, their families and the community groups working to support them.
“RSL Queensland has invested significantly in scientific research into veterans’ quality of life to complement our decades of experience supporting our fellow veterans. We look forward to sharing with the Royal Commission our insights and programs which are already making a positive difference to the lives of many veterans and their families.
“Via our network of more than 230 Sub Branches across Queensland and our subsidiary Mates4Mates charity, we provide a broad range of support services to directly address the root causes of veteran suicide. These include supporting veterans and their families with access to crisis support, advocacy, wellbeing programs, residential accommodation, our award-winning employment program, skills development, scholarships and mental and physical health programs.”
While the Royal Commission is being established, Mr Ferris urged existing efforts to address known issues, such as those identified by the 2019 Report, A Better Way to Support Veterans, continue without pause.
“In particular, veterans want to see the Department of Veterans Affairs appropriately resourced with experienced delegates to reduce veterans’ wait times on compensation claims,” he said.