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Concerning report into Tas RSL members

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A report commissioned by RSL Tasmania has found more than half of its members rated their health as "average" or "poor".

40 percent of the 802 Tasmanian RSL members surveyed said they'd experienced an adverse or traumatic event during service and 55 percent indicated they'd experienced mental illness in their lives.

The national average is 45 percent.

Those 57 percent of respondents who rated their health as "average" or "poor" were more likely to be older, have a disability or chronic health condition, and to have served in a war zone or peacekeeping force.

The report has been re-launched at RSL Tasmania's state conference in Launceston today.

“After serving in the Australian Defence Force (ADF), the issues being faced by the Defence Family are largely misunderstood by all levels of government, the ADF, ex-service organisation and the broader community,” President Robert Dick said.

“We want to cooperatively work towards creating a better future for our current serving and ex-serving members and their families."

Respondents believed the top three future priorities should be to improve public awareness and pride in the ADF and veterans, improve the welfare of all veterans and lobby on their behalf.

Mr Dick said issues facing veterans were recently amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our sub-branches are excellent at broader community outreach and engagement, but the study confirmed something that we already knew, which is that those members most in need were less likely to participate with their sub-branch,” he said.