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Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide extended to 17 June 2024

The Attorney General has granted an additional 12 months for the Royal Commission to prepare and deliver its final report, which is now due by 17 June 2024.

Importantly, the interim report remains due by 11 August 2022.

Photo source: Facebook

Chair of the Royal Commission, Nick Kaldas APM advised the extension is an acknowledgment of the significant volume of work the Royal Commission has undertaken to date.

Commissioner Kaldas said: "The engagement with the Defence Force and veteran communities has been extensive and essential, and there is much more to do. The magnitude of the task has become clearer. Given the need to undertake a more detailed inquiry, harnessing the contact with the community and continuing our own research and analysis, we sought the extension to allow the following:

  • To allow adequate time for continuing engagement with the Defence and veteran community and other relevant stakeholders.

  • To allow us to pursue our ambitious data gathering program to analyse the results and test them against other evidence. This will inform our recommendations, including the need to have in place information systems designed to help reduce the number of deaths by suicide in our military and veteran population.

  • To conduct further roundtables with experts on suicidality in the Defence and veteran community and more generally. These roundtable discussions have been very helpful to date in directing our thinking about the contents of our hearings and the importance of various areas for research. With the extension of time we will be able to conduct more roundtable discussions, consolidating the robustness of our evidence base, and we will also have time to socialise and test possible solutions prior to publications of the final report.

  • To allow us to properly examine how our allies in the US, UK, Canada and New Zealand in particular deal with this issue and learn from their experience as per our terms of reference.

  • And, finally, to safeguard our own workforce and that of the Commonwealth staff who are responding to our demands and participating in our inquiries.

Commissioner Kaldas confirmed that the interim report will focus on urgent recommendations that could be immediately implemented. He also indicated that the Royal Commission will consider making other urgent recommendations prior to the release of the final report.

Hearings for the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide will continue in Townsville from Monday 20 June 2022, and in Hobart from 1 August 2022.

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