With the devastating rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan, Labor is calling on the Morrison-Joyce Government to provide extra support for veterans who may be questioning the value of their work and sacrifice.
Federal Member for Blair and Shadow Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Defence Personnel, Shayne Neumann, said he was calling on the Morrison-Joyce Government to be proactive in reaching out to those veterans who fought in Afghanistan and to the families who have lost loved ones.
“After Australia’s 20-year presence in Afghanistan to support the country’s security and development, many veterans are horrified to see the Taliban surge across the country,” Mr Neumann said.
“With suicide and mental health issues among the veteran community already at alarming levels, more needs to be done now to ensure these issues aren’t exacerbated further.
“For months, Afghanistan veterans and Labor have been calling on the Morrison-Joyce Government to fast-track visas for Afghan interpreters and staff who worked with our troops and whose lives are now in danger from the Taliban.
“While other countries have been evacuating their Afghan supporters for weeks, the Morrison-Joyce Government has provided no clarity on if, when and how they will get hundreds of Afghans who helped Australia, and their families, to safety.
“Many veterans have said this issue is exacerbating their existing trauma because they see it as leaving their mates behind.
“With the Taliban claiming to have control of Afghanistan, we need to ensure that those who fought there - both the veterans here and their friends in Afghanistan who provided local assistance – are provided support.”
Support is available for current and ex-serving defence personnel, and their families through Open Arms - Veterans and Families Counselling by phone on 1800 011 046 (international +61 8 8241 4546) or you can visit www.OpenArms.gov.au