Member for Riverina Michael McCormack has welcomed the Federal Government’s formal establishment of a Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide to be led by former New South Wales Police Deputy Commissioner Mr Nick Kaldas APM.
“Sadly, the Riverina and Central West, as with all communities and regions throughout Australia, has been affected by suicides among Australian Defence Force members and veterans, so this development is a good outcome,” Mr McCormack said.
Mr McCormack praised the work of former Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Darren Chester, who led consultation on the Terms of Reference for the Royal Commission, assisted by the Attorney-General, Senator Michaelia Cash.
More than 3000 pieces of feedback were received during the consultation period between 19 April 2021 and 21 May. “I think this large number of submissions reflects the community’s intense interest in this most important issue,” Mr McCormack said.
“We owe a debt to those who have served or who are serving our nation in the defence forces to find why there is this unacceptably high rate of self-harm and to put in place measures to reduce the risks.” Mr McCormack said Mr Kaldas was a good choice as Royal Commissioner. As NSW Police Deputy Commissioner, Mr Kaldas commanded about 14,000 staff and a budget of more than $2 billion.
Further information on the Royal Commission, including how to make a submission – https://defenceveteransuicide.royalcommission.gov.au. The Royal Commission is due to provide an interim report on 11 August 2022 and a final report on 15 June 2023.