NSW Government lodges submission to the Royal Commission into Veteran Suicide

As we honour Australian men and women who have served or made the ultimate sacrifice, the NSW Government has today lodged our submission to the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide.

Research by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare indicates that suicide is the leading cause of death for young people, and among young ex-serving male personnel (aged 18-24 years), the rate of suicide is twice that observed for Australian men of the same age.

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said that the Government’s submission addresses areas where we could and should do more for our veterans and their families, particularly our contemporary veterans.

“Our diggers deserve the greatest respect and the best possible care for both their physical and mental welfare. The State Government is doing everything we can to ensure services are available to veterans and their families in New South Wales,” Mr Perrottet said.

“The NSW Government is committed to continuing to honour the contributions made by our servicemen and servicewomen over many generations. This submission calls for improved services, support and financial assistance for our veterans family.”

Minister for Transport and Veterans David Elliott said the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide is a once in a lifetime opportunity for all levels of government, private organisations and charities to come together to end the tragic suicide rates related to the veteran population.

“The NSW Government was the first State to call for a Royal Commission, recognising that one death is one death too many. While the Commonwealth has primary responsibility for veterans, NSW hosts the largest number of major military bases in Australia. Our submission advances a number of initiatives which would require all affected organisations to provide more holistic services and support to a digger following transition to civilian life,” Mr Elliott said.

“We’ve called for the establishment of additional Veteran Wellbeing Centres like the centre in Nowra, a national peak body to represent the veterans’ community, greater information sharing between the Commonwealth and States, and increased involvement of ex-service organisations like RSL NSW, Soldier On and Mates4Mates in the transition process.”

Approximately 1,200 veterans transition to NSW each year, with the majority settling in the Sydney metro region, and many returning or moving to regional NSW.

The NSW whole-of-government Veterans Strategy was launched in March 2021, and outlines the State’s plans to help veterans better connect to services in NSW.

The NSW Government’s submission calls for:

  • The establishment of additional Veteran Wellbeing Centres in regional areas and in Southwest Sydney focused on the life journey of individual veterans post transition.
  • More centralised and targeted financial assistance mandated for health, educational, social/recreational, legal and housing needs to address suicide risk factors like unemployment, poor family connections, food insecurity and lack of housing.
  • One peak body to represent ex-service organisations and advance the broader interests of veterans.
  • Increased involvement and presence of ex-service organisations like RSL NSW, Soldier On, and Mates4Mates at ADF bases and throughout the transition process.
  • Improved real-time and legacy information sharing between the Commonwealth and States as well as data integration to better manage a veteran’s transition to civilian life and monitor suicide risk.
  • A dedicated concierge service for newly discharged veterans, similar to the fast tracked support that is currently on offer at Services Australia and Service NSW.

The Commonwealth recently announced a one year extension to the Royal Commission through to 17 June 2024. The NSW Government will continue to work with the veterans community and make further submissions to the Commission where necessary.

The NSW Government’s full submission can be viewed here.

Leigh van den Broeke | Premier | 0455 991 340
Penny Ghosn | Minister Elliott | 0460 566 213