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RSL Supports New Census Question on Defence Service

The Returned & Services League of Australia (RSL) has welcomed the first-time inclusion of a question regarding service in the Australian Defence Forces in the forthcoming National Census.

RSL National President Greg Melick said the question, “Has the person ever served in the Australian Defence Force?” will provide valuable new information for Governments and veteran support and service organisations.

“The RSL has lobbied over two decades to have a question in the National Census on veteran statistics and service, and it is pleasing to see this now included in the 2021 Census,” Greg Melick said.

“While plenty of information exists about those currently serving in the Australian Defence Forces, there is not a lot of detail about former service personnel and the data will particularly provide the Department of Veterans’ Affairs with accurate information on veteran numbers and where they live,” he said.

The Census will also seek information on veterans’ ages and employment status.

“This will enable the Department to better focus its support for veterans and their families and also assist the RSL in planning its service and support delivery,” he said.

The Department of Veterans’ Affairs supports around 210,000 veterans and their 100,000 dependents. The Census will confirm the total number of veterans living in Australia and likely determine that there are more not currently on the Department’s records.

“Estimates indicate the real number of veterans may be as high as 630,000 people,” Greg Melick said.

“It is important Australia is aware of the full picture and that the support provided for veterans and their families can be strategically developed and directed to best effect.

“The RSL will be promoting participation in the Census to its members to ensure the outcome is comprehensive and accurate and that all veterans receive the support and services to which they are entitled.”

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