Statement from RSL Queensland and Mates4Mates

RSL Queensland 15 September 2021

RSL Queensland is pleased to announce the appointment of Bernadette Praske to Head of Mates4Mates, a wholly-owned subsidiary of RSL Queensland. Working together, RSL Queensland and Mates4Mates have made strides forward in delivering a bright future and enduring legacy for all veterans and their families; Bernadette’s appointment acts to continue this success.


Bernadette Praske comes into the role, picking up the leadership baton from outgoing CEO, Troy Watson, to continue the Mates4Mates purpose of providing support and services to current and ex-serving Australian Defence members who have been impacted by their service. 


In his role at Mates4Mates, Troy has been a passionate leader of the organisation since 2018, providing a compelling vision and unwavering commitment to supporting veterans in every way possible to help them navigate recovery and transition to a positive and fulfilling civilian life. He has been instrumental in Bernadette’s appointment, working with RSL Queensland’s leadership team to identify the next leader best suited to carry on this legacy and mission for the Mates4Mates community.  


Bernadette, previously General Manager Service Delivery and Operations, has been critical in working collaboratively with RSL Queensland to connect and expand services across the spectrum of veteran needs, from advocacy and support to clinical health and wellbeing services. Troy will remain with Mates4Mates for a period to support Bernadette in her appointment and ensure a seamless transition of leadership.


“Bernadette brings a wealth of knowledge and deep passion for the Mates4Mates purpose and the needs of veterans. As we continue the path outlined in our 2025 strategy, we look forward to working with Bernadette as we shape the strategic decisions that will meet veterans needs today and tomorrow,” said RSL Queensland State President Tony Ferris.


“On behalf of RSL Queensland, I’d like to thank Troy Watson for his commitment and immense contribution to Mates4Mates over the last three years. Troy has left an immeasurable mark on the veteran community that he can be proud of, and this legacy will be felt for years to come,” said RSL Queensland State President Tony Ferris. 


Bernadette has significantly contributed to the success of the family recovery model across Mates4Mates’ national services, including the new Department of Veteran Affairs funded Veteran and Family Wellbeing Centre in Darwin in conjunction with RSL Queensland. 


“I’m deeply committed to building on Mates4Mates achievements and our collective overarching vision to better the lives of veterans and their families. This is a critical time for veterans and having worked closely with RSL Queensland since joining Mates4Mates, I know first-hand how much of a difference we can make when working together,” said Head of Mates4Mates Bernadette Praske.


Together, RSL Queensland and Mates4Mates will continue to focus on building contemporary and scalable holistic veteran services; and expanding their reach to enhance the veteran service experience. This is enabled by a single governing body that oversees and leads all enterprise-wide decision making across the two organisations, ensuring a holistic approach to service delivery that effectively and efficiently supports veterans through their whole life journey. Mates4Mates remains committed to supporting all aspects of the health and wellbeing of current and ex-serving Australian Defence Force members, and their families.