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RSL Queensland welcomes Royal Commission into Veteran Suicide

RSL Queensland has welcomed the announcement of a Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide and the appointment of a National Commissioner responsible for implementing its recommendations.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison says the decision comes after listening to community calls for a national inquiry focusing on the systemic issues faced by Australian Defence Force members and veterans.

“We have always recognised that the rate of suicide of Australian Defence Force members and veterans is unacceptably high,” the Prime Minister says.

“In recognising the sacrifices made by our serving and former members and their families on behalf of the nation, we owe it to members, veterans and their families to continue to take action,” Mr Morrison says.

RSL Queensland President Tony Ferris says the measures will be a substantial step towards reconciling the debt the nation owes to service personnel.

He is urging the Commissioner to broadly consult veterans, their families and the community groups that 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,” Mr Ferris says.

“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,” he says.

He says the RSL’s sub branches and charity groups provide a range of support services to address the 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."

Mr Ferris says while the Royal Commission is being established other efforts need to continue.

“In particular, veterans want to see the Department of Veterans Affairs appropriately resourced with experienced delegates to reduce veterans’ wait times on compensation claims." 

The Federal Government believes three Commissioners will be needed to lead the inquiry and says consultation is underway to appoint the candidates.

The Royal Commission is expected to take up to two years to deliver its final report. 

(Photo: Supplied RSL Queensland).

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