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Call for action over defence suicides

VETERANS' Affairs Minister Darren Chester will visit Townsville in coming months amid growing concerns of a defence suicide crisis in the city.

The decision to come to the garrison city comes after Kennedy MP Bob Katter met with Mr Chester in Canberra last week.

There were 67 suicides in the veteran community last year and 25 since the Brereton Report was released in November last year.

Mr Katter said it was essential the federal government played a proactive role and hoped the minister would visit before Anzac Day.

Minister for veterans Affairs Darren Chester with a photo of Ordinary Seaman Edward Teddy Sheean VC, in Parliament House in Canberra. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Gary Ramage
Minister for veterans Affairs Darren Chester with a photo of Ordinary Seaman Edward Teddy Sheean VC, in Parliament House in Canberra. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Gary Ramage

Mr Chester, a Victorian MP, has been unable to get to Queensland due to coronavirus pandemic restrictions.

Mr Katter (pictured) said it was important to move forward together.

After Senator Jacqui Lambie's visit to the region, Mr Katter can "see the way forward" and what issues need to be looked at.

"I've got a handle on where we should be going and the first necessity is to get the minister up," Mr Katter said.

"We don't want to attack the minister we want to give him every opportunity to act, but if he hasn't given me a date by the end of the week I will not be happy."

Kennedy MP Bob Katter.. Picture: Evan Morgan
Kennedy MP Bob Katter.. Picture: Evan Morgan

Mr Chester said that the Townsville community benefited from having army veteran Phil Thompson as a local member.

"I work closely (with Phil) on matters in the serving and ex-serving community on the ground," he said.

"I have spoken to Mr Katter and I look forward to visiting (Townsville) again soon, pending COVID-19 restrictions."

 

Originally published as Call for action over defence suicides


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