About the Royal Commission
On 8 July 2021, the Government announced the formal establishment of the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide.
The Royal Commission is independent of Government, including the Department of Veterans' Affairs and the Department of Defence.
DVA's work in response to recommendations
Suicide is a complex and confronting issue that deeply affects our Defence and veteran community. DVA strongly supports the important work of the Royal Commission, and continues to engage with it as it works toward the final report.
A key priority for DVA is implementing the recommendations accepted by the Government and for which we have responsibility. The Royal Commission has called on the Government and DVA to improve systems and processes and we have taken that call seriously. We are already making changes and improvements in direct response to the recommendations of the Interim Report. These changes will improve the experience of veterans and families who engage with us, and help future generations of the veteran community get the support they need and deserve.
Progress on implementing the Interim Report recommendations
DVA is responsible for Recommendations 1 to 4, which relate to legislation, claims processing and administration, as well as resourcing of the department. Work to address these recommendations is a key focus.
The Government has already implemented Recommendation 5, by removing the staff level cap for DVA (and other agencies). It has also partially implemented Recommendation 6, by amending the Royal Commissions Act 1902 (Cth) to provide greater protections for those wishing to tell their story to the Royal Commission.
DVA has shared responsibility with Defence for Recommendations 9 to 13, which focus on improving access to information held by both departments for serving and ex-serving Australian Defence Force (ADF) members, their representatives and family members. Following a comprehensive co-design process involving serving and ex-serving ADF members, and families, DVA and Defence have implemented a raft of improvements to make sure the system is easier to navigate.
DVA is working closely with Defence and the Attorney-General’s Department in support of the Royal Commission’s inquiry and will publish relevant whole-of-government and DVA reports and updates to show progress in implementing recommendations.