This Tuesday, 30 May 2023, representatives from more than 20 ex-service organisations will come together in Sydney for the second National Forum for Ex-Service Organisations (ESOs) hosted by the Returned & Services League of Australia (RSL) and its State Branches.

The forum provides an opportunity for the ESO sector to work together and collaborate on addressing priority issues and continue, as a sector, supporting veterans and their families. The establishment of a peak ESO body to enhance representations to government and across the community on behalf veterans and their families remains a key focus as agreed by participants at the first National ESO Forum in November 2022.

The Commissioners appointed to the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide, Mr Nick Kaldas APM, The Hon. James Douglas KC, and Dr Peggy Brown AO will attend the Forum as honorary guests to learn more about the services and support offered by ESOs across Australia.

The National Forum has engaged experts to provide insights into how peak bodies function, both in Australia and overseas when providing support for veterans and their families.

The Royal Commission’s Interim Report largely focused on the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, the claims processing backlogs and support available to veterans giving evidence at hearings. However, the RSL recognises that there are improvements that can and need to be made in the ex-service organisation sector more broadly.

It would be remiss of the RSL not to address other issues that weren’t included in this initial report. This includes identifying ways for ex-service organisations to work together to better serve the needs of veterans and their families, particularly in navigating the services available to them.

The RSL recognises that addressing the findings of the Royal Commission can’t be done by any one organisation alone and that it called for the ESO sector to demonstrate its commitment to working together. As the nation’s largest ex-service organisation, the RSL is committed to providing leadership to work to achieve this.

The RSL has looked to the previous work of ESOs that have collaborated around veteran advocacy and policy, and knows that in bringing the sector together to leverage those foundations and learn from others, it can clarify and strengthen the collective voice of the sector.

Presenters at the National ESO Forum include CEO of the Australian Council for International Development Marc Purcell and Executive Chair of the UK Confederation of Service Charities Lieutenant General Sir Nick Pope KCB CBE.

For event information contact RSL Australia Media Officer Tony Harrison on 0417 318 178 or