Nationals Member for Riverina Michael McCormack has welcomed the formal establishment of a Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide.
The Royal Commission will inquire into systemic issues and common themes related to defence and veteran death by suicide, including the possible contribution of pre-service, service, transition, separation and post-service issues, and other matters believed by the Royal Commission to be relevant to its inquiry.
Mr McCormack said the Riverina and Central West, along with all communities and regions throughout Australia, has been affected by suicides among Australian Defence Force members and veterans.
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.
More than 3,000 pieces of feedback were received during the consultation period in April and May this year.
“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 has welcomed the appointment of former New South Wales Police Deputy Commissioner Nick Kaldas APM as Royal Commissioner.
As NSW Police Deputy Commissioner, Mr Kaldas commanded about 14,000 staff and a budget of more than $2 billion.
Mr Kaldas also has extensive international experience in law enforcement and peacekeeping, including as Director of Internal Oversight Services for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, and as Chief of Investigations for the United Nations Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in Syria.
Mr Kaldas will be supported by The Hon James Douglas QC, a former Judge of the Supreme Court of Queensland, and Dr Peggy Brown AO, a consultant psychiatrist and national leader in mental health policy with extensive experience in health and mental health service planning, governance and administration.