Royal Commission to visit Northern Territory military bases ahead of Darwin public hearing

The Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide will meet with serving personnel during a tour of Northern Territory military bases, ahead of its public hearing in Darwin.

The Royal Commission’s seventh hearing will be held at the Hilton Darwin Hotel, from Tuesday 18 October.

Commissioners Nick Kaldas APM and Dr Peggy Brown AO – along with Royal Commission staff – will today visit Larrakeyah Defence Precinct, including HMAS Coonawarra. The Commission will visit RAAF Base Tindal, in Katherine, on Monday.

Commission Chair Nick Kaldas said the base visits would provide invaluable insight into life on the strategically significant military bases.

“We will see the types of work ADF members do, the pressures they are under and also the supports available,” Commissioner Kaldas said.

“These visits are also an opportunity to speak with personnel about their role and how that impacts on day-to-day life, their wellbeing and family.”

The seven-day Darwin hearing will further examine life at Larrakeyah Barracks, HMAS Coonawarra and RAAF Base Tindal, including culture, training, injury prevention and mental health supports. Issues around recruitment of ADF personnel and deployment will also be explored.

While in Darwin, the Commissioners hope to speak with serving personnel from as many of the region’s Defence services as possible. The Commissioners will be visiting Robertson Barracks and will explore issues around this base at a later hearing.

The Commission has previously conducted tours of HMAS Kuttabul, Randwick and Holsworthy barracks in Sydney, and Lavarack Barracks in Townsville.

The Royal Commission has now received more than 2,500 submissions and conducted more than 200 private sessions.

Editors’ Note: Vision and interviews will be provided on a pool basis by ABC Darwin. Photographs available on request.

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