Include Veterans in the 2021 Census.
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I am seeking your support for the inclusion of a question on the 2021 Census to identify people who have served in the Australian Defence Force (ADF).
It is a very significant issue and given that no information is collected, there is very limited data on our veteran community. National data on where veterans live once discharged from service along with employment status, family composition, etc. is crucial to enabling government and ex-service organisations (ESO’s) to deliver relevant and timely veteran support services needed during transition and into civilian life. Considering the ADF’s current high operational tempo and with over 5,500 personnel leaving the ADF each year not having this data makes it extremely hard to effectively deliver the support service needed.
Once a veteran has sought assistance, in particular from the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA), there is visibility but up until this point we have limited idea where we might need to reach out. This is far from ideal as most veterans wait until in extreme crisis before reaching out for help. Last year alone we had 85 recorded veteran suicides and one has to ask had we known more could we have drastically reduced this number.
Recently RSL NSW State President, James Brown met with the Minister for Veterans Affairs Darren Chester, and Shadow Minister Amanda Rishworth also urging them to support the inclusion of a question on the 2021 Census asking about service in the ADF. I’m happy to say both MPs have committed to seek the support of their colleagues in resolving this matter, and ensuring veterans are counted on the next Census.
Please sign this petition and contact your Federal Member to highlight this issue and seek their support.
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