RSL Australia Calls for Establishment of National Office and Commissioner for Veteran Wellbeing

Media Release 17 August 2023

Media Release - RSL Australia

The Returned & Services League of Australia (RSLA) has called for the establishment of a National Office for Defence and Veteran Wellbeing headed by an Independent Commissioner, supported by a cross-organisational Advisory Group.

The proposed entity would be responsible for overseeing the implementation of the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide. RSLA says it is the vital component that has been missing from previous Government responses to reports and inquiries into the health and wellbeing of serving ADF members and veterans.

The RSL’s call follows comments from the Head of the Royal Commission, Nick Kaldas who said it was essential a body be established to see the recommendations of the Commission implemented and to keep a permanent watch on veteran wellbeing. Commissioner Kaldas likened this to something akin to the Interim Commissioner for Defence Suicide which was disbanded prior to the establishment of the Royal Commission.

The RSL believes the Commissioner and Office can best be established by an Act of Parliament, be independent of Government, appropriately resourced, transparent, and accountable to ensure it can sustainably meet the contemporary and changing needs of ADF members and veterans. 

The RSL says all Australians have a role to play in addressing the findings of the Royal Commission. That is why the RSL is proposing that the National Commissioner for Defence and Veteran Wellbeing is supported by a cross organisational Advisory Group comprising representatives from Defence, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Coroners’ Offices, State Governments, the health system, ex-service organisations the private sector, and those with lived experience.

Read full statement from RSL Australia

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