Royal Commission into Veteran Suicide Announced

19 Apr 2021
Veterans Royal Commission 2021

Federal Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie has welcomed the Prime Minister’s announcement that the Government will hold a Royal Commission to examine veteran suicide.

More information about the Commission is available on the Department of Veterans' Affairs website.

“Many in my community and across Australia believe that a Royal Commission was the most appropriate path forward, and I share that view,” said Rebekha, Centre Alliance’s Veterans Affairs Spokesperson.

“They have taken their time, but the Government has finally listened to the voices of veterans and their families who wanted a thorough and independent investigation.

“In setting the terms of reference for the Commission, I earnestly hope it will be adequately resourced. The commissioner must not be hamstrung by meagre resourcing.

“Forty-two Australian service members have died in Australia's modern military conflicts, which is 42 too many. But, as of 2017, some 419 current and former ADF members have died by suicide.

“This does not count the lives unnecessarily lost since 2017. Since I've been in parliament, I've seen a flurry of reports and reviews, from the Senate to the Productivity Commission, each looking at the experiences of veterans.

“Their findings have been damning and distressing. There can be no dispute as to the pervasive nature of suicide or mental health more broadly across the veteran community.

“What currently eludes us is a clearer understanding of the underlying causes of suicide amongst the defence community and, importantly, a solution.

“Australians have enormous faith in the ability of Royal Commissions to be independent, to be transparent, to be thorough, and to lead to recommendations for real change.

“I welcome the Government’s decision to take this course before pushing ahead with the establishment of a national veterans suicide prevention commissioner.”

(If this media statement raises any issues, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 for support)

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