Veterans’ minister apologises to military personnel over defence suicide rates after ‘successive governments’ failed

The veterans’ affairs minister has apologised in federal parliament to serving and former military personnel who have been let down by his department and Defence over numerous decades.

Matt Keogh delivered the Albanese government’s formal response to early findings from the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide by outlining measures to address the crisis. 

He said in some cases, the policies, processes and cultures that evolved over time in Defence and the Veterans’ Affairs Department had been counterproductive, “causing distress to our defence and veteran communities.”

“The Royal Commission’s interim report is replete with examples. It is clear that things are not right,” Mr Keogh said.

“On behalf of the Australian government, I say, sorry.”

Last month, an interim report from the Royal Commission found urgent action was needed to eliminate the “unacceptable” backlog of veterans’ compensation claims, with almost 42,000 awaiting processing at the end of May.

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