Skip to navigation

Media releases

The Hon Darren Chester MP
Minister for Veterans and Defence Personnel


13 December 2019

Joint communiqué – Veterans Ministerial Council

At the meeting of the Veterans Ministerial Council on 29 November 2019, State and Territory Ministers provided initial feedback on the draft of the Commonwealth’s new Veteran Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy and National Action Plan to improve veteran mental health and wellbeing and reduce suicide.

At the meeting in Canberra, Chair of the Council, Minister for Veterans and Defence Personnel Darren Chester, provided an update on the development of the Strategy and National Action Plan and the consultations that have taken place so far.

During the meeting, State and Territory Ministers discussed the draft document in detail and put forward their views on how it could be improved.

The Council also resolved to support the Commonwealth progressing the Strategy and National Action Plan for finalisation, noting the feedback and changes recommended at the meeting.

The draft document has been in development since June when Minister Chester convened a national Summit, bringing together experts from around Australia to plan the best way forward.

The Summit identified four priority areas – health care, transition, partnerships and engagement, communication and education.

Over the past six months, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs has been consulting with veterans and their families, ex-service organisations, service providers and States and Territory Governments to inform the development of the Strategy and National Action Plan.

It is important that the Strategy and National Action Plan is designed by veterans and their families, for veterans and their families.

Commitment from the States and Territories to the Strategy and National Action Plan is also critical to ensure that the nation is best-placed to improve veteran mental health and wellbeing.

State and Territory Ministers agreed to provide some more detailed feedback on the Strategy and Action Plan as soon as possible. The Ministers also noted the importance of working closely with their other Ministerial colleagues in particular those with responsibility for health, mental health and wellbeing.

DVA will provide a final draft of the Strategy and Nation Action Plan to the Government before the end of the year.

The Veterans Ministerial Council provides an opportunity for ministers responsible for veterans issues from across Australia to come together to discuss how different levels of government can collaborate to support veterans and their families.



Cedric Szigeti: 02 6277 7820
DVA Media: 02 6289 6466
Office of the Hon Darren Chester, Canberra ACT

List of attendees:

  • Federal Minister for Veterans and Defence Personnel, The Hon Darren Chester MP
  • New South Wales Minister for Skills and Tertiary Education, Acting Minister for Sport, Multiculturalism, Seniors and Veterans, The Hon Dr Geoff Lee MP
  • Queensland Assistant Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Assistant Minister of State, Ms Jennifer Howard MP
  • Victorian Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Veterans, Robin Scott MP
  • South Australian Premier; Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation; Defence and Space Industries; The Arts; Veterans' Affairs; Multicultural Affairs, The Hon Steven Marshall MP
  • Northern Territorian Assistant Minister for Veterans, Mr Tony Sievers MLA

Open Arms — Veterans and Families Counselling provides support for current and ex-serving ADF personnel and their families. Free and confidential help is available 24/7. Phone 1800 011 046 (international: +61 1800 011 046 or +61 8 8241 4546) or visit