The East Malvern RSL Sub-Branch opened its doors for veterans, their families, and two federal Ministers for a night of great conversation about the current challenges facing the veteran community.
Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Defence Personnel the Hon Matt Keogh held an open forum for veterans and their families on Tuesday, August 29, alongside Member for Higgins Dr Michelle Ananda-Rajah.
The Ministers engaged in conversations around many important topics, ranging from the current mental health initiatives and support available to veterans to grants assisting Sub-Branch staff in the maintenance of memorials and monuments.
Other topics included the backlog of compensation claims at the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA), and upcoming reforms to the Aged Care Act and the impacts on the older veteran community.
In his opening address, Minister Keogh spoke to the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide, following the second day of the Melbourne Hearing Block.
“We don’t usually find a party fighting an election and coming into the job with a list of things that they want to do in this portfolio space but we saw the significant issues and the importance,” he said.
“That came from a history of engagement with activists in this space around particularly the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide and the underlying issues going into the rates of suicide that we’re seeing in the veteran community.”
The Minister also spoke about the growth of Veterans and Families Hubs across the country, saying they have selected locations with the highest concentration of veterans.
“We’ve looked at who can provide a full suite of services that are going to service our older veterans, our contemporary veterans and their families.”
Veterans and family members in attendance took time at the end of the session to speak with the Ministers personally on all matters discussed during the night.
Thank you to the East Malvern RSL Sub-Branch for hosting the evening.