RSL Queensland has released the Defence Family Research Project (DFRP), which reveals that that
almost 197,000 people in Queensland are serving or have served in the Australian Defence Force,
and that an additional 480,000 Queenslanders have a connection to Defence through an immediate
family member or friend.
RSL Queensland State Secretary Scott Denner said the organisation wanted to shine a light on the
Defence family, its size, location, issues and challenges so that the RSL can better meet its changing
needs and advocate on its behalf.
“What we knew anecdotally – and have now confirmed through this research – is that many of those
leaving Defence need our support with employment and education, DVA claims, physical and mental
health challenges, relationship guidance, financial advice, adjustment to civilian life, physical fitness
and an ongoing sense of purpose,” Mr Denner said.
“Most service personnel agree that their experience is unique and unforgettable, and that the
experiences, skills and discipline developed during their service shapes who they are.
“However, our research confirms that the transition out of Defence often brings great upheaval and
change – they lose their job, income and career, their purpose and home, all at once. For many, this
has a profound impact on their quality of life and wellbeing.
“Regardless of whether they choose to leave or are medically or involuntarily discharged, many
struggle to find meaningful employment that uses their expertise. Many find their household income
is substantially lower but they have more expenses in the civilian world, causing considerable
distress for both the veteran and their family”.
The Defence Family Research Project confirms that the critical concerns for veterans are: finding
employment, trying to get DVA claims accepted, enabling their mental health, and dealing with
family responsibilities and pressure.
“These are exactly the crunch points where RSL Queensland steps in,” Mr Denner said.