Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Defence Personnel Darren Chester has welcomed the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide as an opportunity to identify weaknesses after admitting that the “system isn’t perfect”.
Since the royal commission was announced in April this year, a consultation phase has been in place that has given veterans, serving members and families across the nation a platform to provide feedback to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA).
“While opinions have been incredibly diverse, we all have one common goal – to prevent suicide within the Defence and veteran communities,” Minister Chester said.
“The feedback has been extremely positive and constructive.”
Areas of concern that have been identified from the 1,400 written submissions of feedback, including the transition process from Defence to civilian life, dealing with DVA in accessing assistance, mental health support, negative treatment of personnel, operational tempo and rotations, complexity of the legislation and the claims process, as well as issues that impact families of those who serve.
The consultation period has now ended and the Attorney-General’s Department will be drafting the Terms of Reference based on the information collected by DVA. Where consent has been provided, feedback provided has been published on the DVA website.
The royal commission will be completely independent of the government – DVA, the Australian Defence Force and the Department of Defence will not be involved.
“I would like to thank all those in the community who have provided their feedback,” Minister Chester said.
“The royal commission is an opportunity to identify any weaknesses, listen to the ideas of Australians, and implement changes that can help to save lives.”