Scenic Rim veterans say confidence boosted in royal commission after changes

VETS: Members of the Scenic Rim Veterans Group on a working Centurion tank last year. Photo: Larraine Sathicq
VETS: Members of the Scenic Rim Veterans Group on a working Centurion tank last year. Photo: Larraine Sathicq

SCENIC Rim veterans are more confident in the submission process for the royal commission into suicide rates of current and former servicemen.

This came as federal MP Scott Buchholz notified the Beaudesert Times that veterans, families and servicemen could now have their say without having to send submissions to a Veterans Affairs email address.

Scenic Rim Veterans Group spokesman Peter Rewko said his mates would be more confident in sharing their stories after the changes, which allow for submissions to be lodged directly to Attorney General Michaela Cash.

"Well done, Mr Buchholz," he said.

"Veterans can now have more confidence in the royal commission if we don't have to go through DVA."

Veterans Affairs Minister Darren Chester acknowledged the concerns of veterans who did not wish to provide their input to the Veterans Affairs Department.

"I have provided this feedback to the Attorney-General ... who has agreed to accommodate those concerns and ensure that all voices can be heard." he said. "Veterans, family members and service personnel can send their submissions for the Terms of Reference directly through the Attorney-General's website.

"All feedback to either DVA or the Attorney-General's Department is required to be submitted by 21 May 2021."

Mr Buchholz last week said Veteran Affairs was not running the royal commission.

"The DVA, the Australian Defence Force and the Department of Defence are not involved in the conduct of the royal commission itself," he said.

"The commissioners will be responsible for decisions around the royal commission, completely independent of government."

The Scenic Rim Veterans Group said there had been a problem with submissions being sent to the very organisation they believed had let them down.

"They are the main offenders," Vietnam veteran Les Allen said.

Beaudesert RSL sub branch president Carol Castles applauded the changes tp the royal commission submission process.

"It's a good move, an appropriate way to go," she said.

"It needs to be impartial, away from any officials who might have made decisions in the past."