Mr Chester acknowledges concerns over DVA involvement in Royal Commission model

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Darren Chester has acknowledged that some veterans and families have concerns about DVA’s involvement in shaping the Terms of Reference for the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide.

With public consultation on the themes for the Terms of Reference for the Royal Commission currently open, Minister Chester has moved to open a second channel to receive public submissions – through the Attorney-General Department.

The Royal Commission is a chance to unite the veteran community and everyone has a chance to have their say as we consult widely on the Terms of Reference.

Mr Chester said he had already held discussions with hundreds of veterans, serving members and families and the feedback had been extremely thoughtful and constructive.

“They are not interested in arguing amongst themselves, they want the wider military community to unite and make the most of this important opportunity to shape the direction of the Royal Commission,” Mr Chester said.

“My role is entirely consistent with other Royal Commissions, where the portfolio minister undertakes consultation, but the actual drafting of the Terms of Reference is undertaken independently of my Department, by the Attorney-General.

“However, I recognise that some veterans may not be comfortable engaging in this process through DVA.

“The government has listened to the concerns of these veterans who don’t wish to provide their input to DVA as part of this process and I have provided this feedback to the Attorney-General Michaela Cash who has agreed to accommodate those concerns and ensure that all voices can be heard.”

Veterans, family members and service personnel can now send their submissions for the Terms of Reference directly through the Attorney-General’s website.

Mr Chester said, all feedback to either DVA or the Attorney-General’s Department is required to be submitted by 21 May 2021 and will be carefully considered as the Terms of Reference for the Royal Commission are finalised.

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Brian Hartigan

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