Veterans and defence force personnel will get help to find jobs after they leave the ADF and improved access to mental health services under a new Turnbull government plan.
Malcolm Turnbull will hold a seminar with business leaders and veterans in November to work out how best to use the skills of defence force personnel in the workplace.
The government has also announced a review of suicide and self-harm prevention services available to veterans and ADF members, which will be led by the National Mental Health Commission in conjunction with clinical experts and current and former defence force members.
As part of a wider commitment to tackling mental ill health, the government is installing 12 suicide prevention trial sites, the first of which will be located in the North Queensland city of Townsville, which is home to many past and present defence personnel.
The review will provide an interim report in December and a full report in February, and will consider issues including the range and effectiveness of services currently available to current and former serving members and their families, barriers which may prevent them accessing services and how the reporting and incidence of suicide among former and serving ADF members compares with the broader Australian community.
As the government commemorates the centenaries of various WWI battles, Mr Turnbull said the best way to honour the diggers of 1916 was to care for the veterans of 2016 and their families.
He said the veterans’ employment initiative would use his office to raise awareness among employers of the unique and valuable skills veterans have.
“The key issue is awareness,” he said.
“We are not saying to business — and they don’t want us to say to business you must hire veterans as a patriotic obligation, although we wouldn’t mind if they did.
“But the message is going to be there is an enormous well of human talent here with unique experience and you should be taking advantage of it.”
Opposition veterans’ affairs spokeswoman Amanda Rishworth said it was essential that the men and women who were prepared to serve in their country’s name were properly looked after.
“We will take a constructive bipartisan approach to improving the healthcare and support available to those returned servicemen and women who need it,” she said.
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