RSL Queensland State President Tony Ferris welcomed today’s Australian Government announcement of the newly appointed, Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Defence Personnel the Honourable Andrew Gee.
RSL Queensland’s relationship with Department of Veterans Affairs is critical to ensuring our veterans and their families are heard and supported, not only through advocacy to DVA in accessing the appropriate assistance through the claims process, but also through working with other programs such as Open Arms. Equally our role in supporting current serving veterans and their families through operational tempo, posting cycles and the rigours of service life by providing spouse education and employment, as well as our investment in current serving initiatives makes our relationship with the Minister in the Defence Personnel role equally important.
Mr Ferris acknowledged the work of former Minister, the Honourable Darren Chester, and thanked him for his active engagement with RSL Queensland in the mutual interest of advancing the quality of life of veterans.
“During Minister Chester’s time leading the portfolio we have seen the department and commissions evolve. In particular, we would like to acknowledge the significant increase in DVA staff secured in the recent Federal Budget,” he said.
Mr Ferris urged existing efforts to continue addressing the identified root causes of veterans’ challenges and issues transitioning from military life, as the nation gears up for the upcoming Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide.
“RSL Queensland will work with the new Minister to ensure veterans’ voices are heard, their needs are presented with the highest priority by the government, and that the findings of the Royal Commission are promptly and fully implemented.
“Our nation owes a debt of gratitude to our brave service personnel, who so often surrender their freedoms to protect ours. We look forward to working with Minister Gee to help him and his Department leverage RSL Queensland’s significant investment in research and programs, and our century of lived experience across hundreds of thousands of members.
“Via a network of more than 230 Sub Branches across Queensland, and our subsidiary Mates4Mates, RSL Queensland provides a broad array of support services which directly address the root causes of veteran suicide. These include providing veterans and their families with crisis support, compensation claims support, physical and mental wellbeing programs, residential accommodation, an award-winning
employment program, our homelessness program and education scholarships,” Mr Ferris said.