In the lead up to Anzac Day, new research has revealed two in five (43%) Australians agree that veterans are adequately supported with essential services, such as mental and physical health care and financial assistance – with the same number (43%) confirming that more needs to be done to provide adequate support.
The research, commissioned by RSL LifeCare and conducted by YouGov, surveyed more than 1,000 Australians and revealed more than one in two Australians (53%) agreed that better access to mental and physical health care was most important to support veterans, followed by income support and assistance (15%) and helping prevent homelessness (12%).
When it came to honouring veterans on Anzac Day, the report confirmed an 8% year on year increase in Australians planning to commemorate the occasion this year (from 70% in 2022 to 78% in 2023), with almost one in five (17%) revealing that Anzac Day would be more relevant to them this year than in previous years. In relation to knowledge and a bond with veterans, almost two in three Australians (63%) knew a current or past member of the Australian or New Zealand defence force, however less than one in three (32%) correctly defined a veteran as a person that had served at least one day as part of the defence force.
There was a mix of opinion between generations when it came to the importance and relevance of Anzac Day, with nearly one in five (17%) of those surveyed between 18 – 29 years confirming Anzac Day will be more relevant to them this year compared to previous years. Conversely, over two in five (43%) surveyed felt that younger Australians under the age of 30 gave less importance to Anzac Day than when they were 30 years and under.
Supporting the need for ongoing and increased services for veterans, RSL LifeCare has today launched an intergenerational series of content pieces, honouring, reflecting and commemorating on the sacrifices thousands have made over generations.
The series features RSL LifeCare staff, some of whom are veterans and family members connected to the organisation, along with former Governor-General and retired Chief of the Australian Defence Force, Sir General Peter Cosgrove AK CVO MC (Retd), who sat down with pre-schoolers from the Little Diggers Pre School, located as part of RSL LifeCare’s Anzac Village.
RSL LifeCare CEO, Janet Muir said the content series shone a light on just how much Anzac Day and the sacrifices of so many meant to people from all walks of life and their connections to veterans past and present.
“The report findings, along with the views of those in our content series, highlight that there is real sense of connection and purpose around Anzac Day and the support of veterans year round and a
desire to do more, and that’s a primary focus of RSL LifeCare and the work we do across our veteran services arm,” Ms Muir said.
“We know through our Veteran Wellbeing Centres and services we deliver for thousands of veterans and their families, along with interactions as part of local communities, how critical it is that together, we continue to support those who have served and serve our nation and elevate the Anzac legacy for generations to come.”
Sir General Peter Cosgrove added that while Anzac Day and the meaning and commemoration behind it would always remain steadfast, it was important to respect the differing ways that people of all ages honoured and reflected on the occasion.
“My connection to Anzac Day has evolved over time – from watching service men and women parade down George Street in Sydney when I was a boy to then serving in the Army and now as a civilian, having opportunities like I did recently, to sit with pre-schoolers at Anzac Village and read them a story about Anzac Day,” Sir General Cosgrove said.
“No matter our generation, we share in a country that is free because of a spirit, a connection to community, because of service and sacrifice that has been made possible thanks to hundreds of thousands of service personnel that have been selfless over decades. We should continue to share the message and meaning of Anzac Day not only on 25 April each year, but all year round. Lest we forget.”
RSL LifeCare provides care and support for retirees and those in aged care homes across NSW and the ACT, together with delivering a dedicated veteran services support unit. Together with RSL NSW and thanks to the support of the Federal Government, the organisation has set up four Veteran Wellbeing Centres in the Riverina, Nowra, Newcastle and Dee Why, with plans to increase the number of centres that offer vital access and support services to thousands of veterans and their families.