The Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide has opened in Brisbane today, with a ceremonial hearing beginning the proceedings.
On Monday, current and ex-service personnel and their families will begin sharing their very personal stories in Brisbane at the first of many public hearings to be held around the country.
Over coming months we will hear many devastating and tragic accounts from current Defence personnel, veterans and those who have lost loved ones to suicide. These will be extremely difficult to hear, but the nation must hear them.
My hope is that this Royal Commission will be a watershed moment in how we look after our service personnel and our veterans, now and into the future.
It is a crucially important body of national work, and I hope that it will be a catalyst for positive, lasting change and reducing the incidence of suicide in the Defence and veteran community.
I look forward to reviewing the Interim Report in August 2022 and a Final Report in July 2023, but I will not be waiting until then to get cracking on important reforms.
Our servicemen and women and their families have sacrificed so much for our nation and we have a moral duty to ensure we give them all the support they need and deserve.
To achieve what it must, the Royal Commission needs to hear from as many people as possible.