19 April 2021
The Returned & Services League (RSL) reiterates its previous commitments to provide its full support for the Royal Commission established by the Federal Government to investigate the incidence of veteran and Defence personnel suicide.
RSL National President Major General Greg Melick said the organisation looked forward to providing input to the development of terms of reference, participate in hearings and continuing to provide advice and support to the Federal Government.
“The RSL and its veteran members will continue to provide support to find solutions that deal with the scourge of veterans’ suicide which impacts severely on the entire veteran community,” General Melick said.
“The issue of veterans’ mental health and veteran suicide is supremely important and must be addressed as a matter of urgency; the RSL are calling for immediate action with no further delay.
“As I have said on behalf of the RSL previously, less than one in four of the recommendations of the many previous inquiries into veterans’ mental health issues have been implemented, so the time for action is long passed.
“While the suicide rate in the armed services is well below the national average, among veterans, it is four times the national average. That is unacceptable and cannot be allowed to continue.”
General Melick said the terms of reference should be wide-ranging and seek to determine all the factors contributing to the poor mental health outcomes experienced by veterans and the alarming incidence of suicide and attempted suicides. Veteran organisations like the RSL must be involved in establishing these.
“The sooner the Royal Commission is established, the sooner proper support can be provided to veterans and any interim recommendations should be implemented along the way, rather than awaiting a final report,” he said.