Defence force chiefs appeal to veterans

·1-min read

Australian Defence Force heads are urging veterans to share their experiences in service, promising they will suffer no penalties.

The Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide continues, with the inquiry extended by 12 months to hear from more witnesses.

ADF chief Angus Campbell released a video on Tuesday encouraging veterans to make a submission to the inquiry.

The heads of the army, navy and air force make similar appeals in the video, reminding veterans the commission is independent of defence and submissions could be kept anonymous.

"We support you coming forward to share your experiences with the royal commission in whatever way you choose," General Campbell said.

"No one will be penalised for doing so."

An interim report released in August said Australia has "fundamental cultural problems" which need to be tackled to address the nation's defence force and veteran suicide crisis.

It made 13 urgent recommendations for the government to begin fixing them, starting with the mammoth backlog in veterans' compensation claims.

Gen Campbell asked veterans to be part of building a better future for all the defence forces.

"The work being undertaken ... is vitally important in understanding the serious and complex issue of suicide and suicidality impacting our defence family and the wider Australian community," he said.

Members of the public and organisations or institutions are able to make a submission to the royal commission until October 13, 2023.

The commission, which began its inquiry in 2021, will deliver a final report in June 2024.

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