Productivity Commission report into supporting veterans a step in the right direction

12 July 2019

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) welcomes the release of the Productivity Commission report A Better Way to Support Veterans into the system of the compensation and rehabilitation for veterans.

The RANZCP strongly supports the overall direction and findings of the Commission’s report, and is pleased to see that a number of the issues and recommendations, focusing on mental health care, in the RANZCP’s submission have been incorporated into the final report.

The report acknowledges the critical need for fundamental reform within the out-of-date veterans’ compensation and rehabilitation system.

The RANZCP President Associate Professor John Allan noted that the Commission’s report is an important step towards reforming the current scheme of veteran compensation and rehabilitation to ensure a more effective, veteran-centred system.

‘This is a unique opportunity to re-orientate a system to the mental health and wellbeing needs of contemporary veterans, as guided by consultation with consumers, carers and clinicians,’ said Associate Professor Allan.

‘We commend the Commission on the work that has been completed so far, and we would be pleased to offer any assistance to the government throughout upcoming reforms.

Recognising that the system ‘fails to focus on the lifetime wellbeing of veterans’, the report emphasises the need for a more effective mental health and suicide prevention strategy, as well as the need to provide seamless support for veterans.

Chair of the RANZCP Military and Veterans’ Mental Health Network Working Group, Dr Duncan Wallace, supports the efforts by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) to continue to upgrade and streamline Veterans’ services that have already been introduced since the beginning of the Productivity Commission review, and the recommendations of the final report.

‘The final report from the Productivity Commission into Compensation and Rehabilitation for Veterans is a landmark study. I welcome its comprehensive findings and recommendations.

‘In particular, Chapter 17 is an extensive overview of Defence and Veterans’ mental health care and a broad range of related issues such as clinical service provision, training and research.

Many of these recommendations will reduce distress and worry experienced by veterans and their families and I commend the Commission on such an all-encompassing report,’ said Dr Wallace.

The RANZCP urges the Government to continue to work towards system reform through greater engagement with health professionals for advice on how to improve the quality of the health care of veterans and clinical outcomes.

For all other expert mental health information visit Your Health in Mind, the RANZCP’s consumer health information website.

ENQUIRIES: For more information, or to arrange an interview call Sarah Carr on +61 (0)3 9640 0646 or +61 437 315 911, or email