The Tasmanian branch of the Returned Services League is in a 'battle for its own survival' due to the age profile of its members according to a new report.
The report, released in April and produced by Elm Consulting, was commissioned in 2019 to assess the needs of veterans in Tasmania.
Among the report's key findings was that the average age of members was 72 years old and more than half of the members surveyed were older than 65.
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"Sadly, 66 percent of members aged 75 or more are expected to pass away within the next ten years," the report said.
RSL Tasmania president Robert Dick said the report was commissioned as part of a governance review last year.
"It was identified ... that we needed to do a survey of our veterans out there to find out exactly what was needed," he said.
State of veterans health in Tasmania: figures from a report commissioned by RSL Tasmania
- 55 per cent of repsondents reported experiencing a mental illness during their lifetime, which is 10 per cent higher than the national average
- 57 per cent of respondents rated their health as average or poor
- PTSD affected 11 per cent of female respondents and 28 per cent of male respondents
- 40 per cent of all members reported having experienced an adverse or traumatic event during their service
He said the survey, which had more than 800 responses from across Tasmania, reinforced what they already knew.
He said better communication was needed to recruit young veterans.
"The big thing at the moment is that a lot of the younger cohort of veterans have a set lot of needs and what they don't realise is the RSL provide those needs," Mr Dick said.
"I think it is really been a lack of communication from our part to actually get the message out their about how we can actually assist these people."
The report raised concerns about the health of members with more than half rating their health as average or poor.
More than half of respondents also said they had experienced mental illness during their life.
Mr Dick said the report showed the need for a veteran well being centre in Tasmania.
In December the federal government announced funding for six veteran well being centres across Australia but Tasmania was left off the list.
"It is very important that we do look after [veterans] ... what we need rather than just sort of pensioning these people off ... is rehabilitation to get them back into a fit state where they can hold their head high," Mr Dick said.
"With the rehabilitation hopefully we can get them to the point where they can get gainful employment and they have a better family life.
"It is not just a matter of looking at their injuries and saying 'look it is unfortunate you've been injured we'll pay for your medical expenses,' what we have got to do look holistically and work at bringing these people back."