Veterans' Affairs Minister Darren Chester has been confronted with the ongoing reality facing veterans and the volunteer organisations working tirelessly to support them during a visit to the state's North.
As a forum hosted by the Launceston RSL club on Tuesday came to a close, the federal minister was directed to a photo of Corporal Ian Turner - a veteran who took his own life in 2017.
Ahead of the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide, and as discussions around how to best spend $5 million announced for Tasmania in the federal budget, Launceston RSL secretary Peter Williams implored Mr Chester to take action.
"This is what we are trying to prevent," Mr Williams said, pointing to a photo of Corporal Turner hanging on the wall.
"In recent times we had a guy who almost did it [took their own life] recently here in Launceston ... he needed our protection and many still do."
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Mr Chester has spent the past two days in the Bass and Braddon electorates, with Tasmanians urged to have their say on forming the terms of reference for the royal commission.
It also comes on the back of a $5 million federal commitment to establish a veteran wellbeing centre in Tasmania, with the government working to determine how the funds would be best spent.
Prior to the announcement, the Launceston RSL had been lobbying the state and federal government's for an ad hoc grant of $250,000 to ensure the continuation of its advocacy programs.
Acknowledging the efforts of the organisation, Mr Chester said it was likely the $5 million would be used to further enhance existing services - such as those offered in Launceston.
"It should never have been called a wellness centre. It should have been called a wellness network," he said.
"I don't know yet, but my expectation is that Tassie will have multiple [wellness] sites. You guys [Launceston] have a wellness centre already. It just isn't the name you've had for it."
With representatives from RLS sub branches in Deloraine, George Town and Swansea also present at Tuesday's forum, Mr Williams said the funding should be used to "reinforce success" already being achieved in communities.
"Our guys deliver professional services, but they don't actually look like a professional organisation," he said.
"It's about enhancing our facilities and then looking at what we can do next to improve veteran support in Tasmania, using our already-existing network.
"This funding would help fulfil what we are already doing."
- Free support for veterans and their families is available through Open Arms on 1800 011 046. For crisis support, call Lifeline 13 11 14.
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