The Hon Andrew Gee MP
Minister for Veterans’ Affairs
Minister for Defence Personnel
373,500 Australians have served in the Australian Defence Force over the past 35 years, of which 59,000 are currently serving, according to new statistics released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.
Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Defence Personnel Andrew Gee said the information contained in the report, along with the Census data collected last night, is helping to build a bigger picture of veterans in our community.
“The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s report released today contains important information about our serving and ex-serving Australian Defence Force men and women that has not been previously captured,” Minister Gee said.
“There is currently no comprehensive data on the total number of veterans living in Australia, but thanks to this research we now know that we have welcomed over 300,000 new veterans into our civilian ranks since 1985.”
The AIHW report ‘Serving and ex-serving Australian Defence Force members who have served since 1985: population characteristics 2019’ was commissioned by the Australian Government to establish a clearer and more comprehensive collection of data about veterans in the Australian community.
“In the past, there hasn’t been a consistent effort made to keep accurate demographic records about our veterans,” Minister Gee said.
“What we do know, as shown in the data released today, is there are many more veterans out there than are registered with the Department of Veterans’ Affairs receiving support.
“The Australian Government currently supports around 240,000 veterans, but estimates indicate there are as many as 630,000 veterans living in Australia today. Now for the first time we have included a question on Defence service in the 2021 Census.
“Once the Australian Bureau of Statistics have crunched the data, we will know the total number of veterans living in Australia, as well as important demographic information, such as age, location and employment status.
“This is information that will help us better serve them.
“The data will inform the design and deployment of the services and support provided to veterans and their families in the future, and it will help us provide more targeted support for the most vulnerable, such as those with specific health or disability needs.
“The data released by AIHW today provides further insights about the veteran community such as the median age of 31 for permanent Defence Force personnel and the average length of service of 10 years.
“This is valuable for future planning for recruitment and retention of its members in Defence, and also for DVA modelling.
“Currently there are roadblocks to information and data sharing between Defence and DVA that is hampering critical support being provided to our veterans.
“This is why the Government is providing more than $40 million for data sharing capabilities between the departments and a further $17.7 million to establish a Joint Transition Authority to better support Australian Defence Force members and their families transitioning from military to civilian life.
“I am committed to developing a clearer picture of the veteran community so we can better shape our services and supports for veterans and their families.
“I would encourage all serving Defence members to register with DVA at the outset of their career to help them gain the support they may need in the future.
“Our nation must never forget the sacrifice of those who served Australia, and when that service is complete, we need to give them the best possible care.”
To read the full report visit the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare website.
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 8 8241 4546) or visit www.OpenArms.gov.au