RSL Queensland Supports veteran engagement in 2021 census

RSL Queensland encouraged veterans to be part of the 2021 Australian Bureau of Statistics’ (ABS) Census, which will help shape greater insights into the veteran community and enable effective delivery of veteran support services. The 2021 Census included two new questions, one on Australian Defence Force service, and another on long-term health conditions. The data collected will be particularly relevant to inform the Royal Commission into Veteran Suicide.

The question on long-term health conditions will provide highly sought-after health information, particularly at the regional and local level. This will help inform health policy and plan for delivery of local community services. RSL Queensland CEO, Robert Skoda, said the veteran data collected by the Census will better inform and guide the delivery of the organisation’s support services to veterans and families across Queensland. “We anticipate the 2021 Census will provide us with a clearer picture of exactly how many veterans there are among the Queensland population, as well as demographic data such as their ages and locations. These insights about the veteran population and their needs will enable support resources to be targeted to where veterans are located, and help services meet their needs more effectively.

RSL Queensland has previously funded its own research into Queensland veterans. The organisation’s Defence Family Research Project identified the key challenges facing the state’s veterans at every stage of their journey, from entering the armed forces, through to transition to civilian life and in later years.

“Census data will enable us to better refine our services. For example, if we see an area with a concentration of veterans who are identifying body movement issues, we can use our expertise to provide increased access and awareness to the services those veterans are most likely to need, including DVA support through our advocacy services.

“It will also enable us to deploy adequate resources to assist our 230 RSL Sub Branches in local areas.

“More veterans live in Queensland than any other state, and RSL Queensland delivers more veteran support across the state than any other Australian ex-Services organisation.“ Mr Skoda said.