Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide

The Air Force Association has provided its submission to the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide.

The Association’s full submission can be accessed via the link at the end. Some key excerpts are summarised below.

The Association did not support the establishment of the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide but strongly supported the Government’s decision to create the Office of the National Commissioner for Defence and Veteran Suicide Prevention.

Opposition to a Royal Commission was on the basis there have been several extensive studies and inquiries on the matter as well as the significant cost. The Association would have preferred the funds be assigned to suicide prevention and early intervention strategies and processes to improve the wellbeing of those at risk rather than expending funds and considerable time and effort on determining the commonly known causes.

However, Association is strongly committed to supporting the Government’s decision to establish the Royal Commission and to work with the Inquiry and committed to closely monitor follow-up actions from the Commission’s recommendations to ensure they are genuinely considered by the Government and implemented as appropriate.

The Association also strongly supports every recommendation made by Dr Boss in her Preliminary Interim Report: Interim National Commissioner for Defence and Veteran Suicide Prevention that was handed to the Government on 15 September, 2021. You can read interim Commissioner’s Report here.    

In our submission, the Air Force Association makes a number of recommendations, including:

  • DVA and the ADF make better use of Ex-Service Organisations (ESOs) to assist transiting and discharged veterans and their families.
  • A complete review transition training which should involve those who have lived experience of transition.
  • The establishment and funding a workable veterans’ advocacy system – ideally, a single veterans’ support Act seems appropriate with grandfather clauses to protect the entitlements of veterans covered under the various existing Acts.
  • The appointment of a National Commissioner for Defence and Veteran Suicide Prevention be appointed at the conclusion of the Royal Commission to continue work towards preventing veteran suicide.
  • Advocates greater veteran access to mental health professionals.

Access the AFA’s full submission here.


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