Labor acknowledges there have been calls from some in the veterans’ community for a Royal Commission into veterans’ suicides.
While a Royal Commission would help to shine a light on this serious issue, there have already been a number of reviews and inquiries into veterans’ mental health and suicide in recent years.
Labor supported the establishment of the 2016 Senate Inquiry into Suicide by veterans and ex-service personnel. This was a significant inquiry, which recognised there are critical gaps and highlighted the need to address these.
One of the key recommendations of the Senate Inquiry was for a further, comprehensive inquiry by the Productivity Commission (PC) into veterans’ compensation and rehabilitation.
On 4 July 2019, the PC released the final report from its inquiry and this is a very thorough and substantial piece of work.
The report noted that there needs to be a greater focus on mental health and suicide prevention, and it recommended that more research is needed to better understand the mental health impacts of service life on families and how they can best be supported.
We know what needs to be done and the Government needs to get on with the job of assisting veterans and their families.
One life lost to suicide is one too many and it’s time for action.