A TAMWORTH veterans support service is hopeful the federal government's appointment of a permanent commissioner will offer up more support for ex-military personal in the bush.
Tamworth Legacy president Greg Roese welcomed last week's announcement of an independent commissioner, who will carry out an investigation into the suicide of veterans.
"It is just fantastic news," Mr Roese told the Leader.
"Suicide rates in returned servicemen and women are far too high and in my opinion, something like this is long overdue.
"I think it will be a tough job, but hopefully it can make things better for all veterans, especially younger veterans who make up too large a chunk of the statistics."
Unlike a royal commission, information obtained during the course of the inquiry will be kept private and relayed to the government at regular intervals.
"I think the fact this inquiry is ongoing is a huge plus," Mr Roese said.
"It means changes and recommendations can be made constantly, instead of being rolled out at the end like a royal commission."
Mr Roese said he was hopeful the inquiry would open up more support for regional-based veterans.
"When you are in the military, you form really close bonds with everyone around you," he said.
"Once your service is finished, you can feel as though you loose that feeling, which I think is a major contributor to the high suicide rate.
"One of the current deficiencies of our system is there is a lack of support available in the bush.
"Hopefully, that can be addressed."
Mr Roese said he was hopeful the inquiry could lead to the introduction of a regional "veterans hub" for veterans in the bush.
"Basically, it would act as a one-stop-shop for everything returned servicemen and women could need," he said.
"There are similar operations in places such as Townsville, which are proving to be very effective.
"It can be really tough for people to access the support they need in the bush, so something like this would be a perfect way of breaking down the divide."
The commissioner will investigate the deaths of more than 400 defence personnel since 2001, and report back to the federal government within 18 months.
- Lifeline 13 11 14.