Veterans and their families are being urged to come forward and provide input into a royal commission into defence and veteran suicide.
The Federal Government announced the independent investigation due to the number of ex-service men and women’s suicide rating higher than the national average.
Soldier On, a charity that supports the veterans community, says that between 2002-2018 the rate of suicide among male veterans was 21 per cent above the normal rate and for females it was 127 per cent.
Veteran Affairs and Defence Minister Darren Chester says it is important that everyone has their opinion heard on this vital issue.
“We must all work together to ensure that this Royal Commission can start promptly and put us on the path to a better understanding of suicide in the serving and ex-serving community,” he said.
Those who are willing to participate will be asked to provide feedback for the terms of reference through a public consultation process organised by his office.
Mr Chester said the Morrsion government is committed to improving support networks for members of the Australian Defence Force and their families.
“I want to assure the Defence and Veteran community that the Government will continue to prioritise the health and wellbeing of serving and ex-serving personnel and their families,” the member for Gippsland said.
The Federal government has previously tried to establish a National Commissioner into this issue but was stalled in the Senate.
The Shadow Minister for Veteran Affairs and Defence Shayne Neumann welcomed the recent announcement.
“While we are disappointed this has taken so long, Labor now stands ready to work with the Government in a bipartisan way to ensure this Royal Commission is vested with all the powers and resources it needs,” Mr Neumann said.
The Member for Blair has urged the government to take their time through the consultation period and make sure the commissioner is independent to guarantee trust in the process.