National Party MP and Veterans' Affairs Minister, Darren Chester with MP Michelle Landry speaking with veterans at the meeting at the Yeppoon RSL.
National Party MP and Veterans' Affairs Minister, Darren Chester with MP Michelle Landry speaking with veterans at the meeting at the Yeppoon RSL. Contributed

Mental health a top priority at Veteran's forum

YEPPOON RSL sub-branch President Paul Lancaster says the government has made some good "inroads” to fixing some of the common issues raised by veterans.

A veteran's forum was held at the club on Wednesday and Mr Lancaster commended the government representatives.

"We were talking about people who are not public servants, they are ex-service people so they understand our needs,” Mr Lancaster said.

Previously the common issues raised were the length of time it took for the appropriate department to get back to someone after they have lodged an issue, especially when it come to urgent matters like mental health and suicides.

"They have now fixed that and they look into it immediately,” he said.

White cards are now being issued for mental health as well, which shows they are trying to address the issue Mr Lancaster said.

More than 50 ex-service people and women attended the meeting.

Mr Lancaster said it went "really good”.

"I think the general feeling of those present there was a air of positiveness,” he said.

Paul Lancaster said Yeppoon RSL will again apply for this years funding round for further improvements to the Yeppoon cenotaph area.
Yeppoon RSL sub-branch President Paul Lancaster. Trish Bowman

"The minster came across as genuine and caring and he has surrounded himself with people who know what they were doing, he is only new and has only been in the role for 12 months.”

Mr Lancaster congratulated Capricornia MP Michelle Landry for her hard work and lobbying.

"To give credit where it's due.... there has been more ministerial visits in the region during her term in Parliament,” he said.

"If you local member is active and banging on doors in Canberra and in that regard I think Michelle has done well.”

And having a club that is not in the big cities or large regional cities, it is also nice to feel acknowledged.

Mr Lancaster said forums like last weeks are "extremely beneficial”.

"We have blokes who still have issues post Vietnam... when they live in the region they sometimes feel like they are forgotten,” he said.

"The fact someone shows up who is important... it makes them feel important too, especially for people who have mental health issues.”

The RSL sub-branches are integral part of society.

National Party MP and Veterans' Affairs Minister, Darren Chester with MP Michelle Landry speaking with veterans at the meeting at the Yeppoon RSL.
Minister Chester with MP Michele Landry speaking with veterans at the Yeppoon RSL. Contributed

Mr Lancaster said there is hundreds of members in Yeppoon.

"People tend to forget we are still active,” he said.

"The RSL has been there since 1922, its the one with the political pull and the financial capacity to assist members and its provides great benefits.

"They just look after their own, it's always is a safe place to go.”

As for the Yeppoon RSL, locals can also look forward to some "good homely tucker at a good price” coming soon.

After the Poppies Restaurant closed more than 12 months ago, the club have been doing some work on the kitchen to re-open it.

It is hoped to be opened before ANZAC Day.

There will be RSL style good including your bangers and mash and parmigianas.

"A good feed at a good price,” Mr Lancaster said.

National Party MP and Veterans' Affairs Minister, Darren Chester with MP Michelle Landry and Emu Park RSL member Barry Vains at Emu Park boardwalk.
MINSTER'S VISIT: National Party MP and Veterans' Affairs Minister, Darren Chester with MP Michelle Landry and Emu Park RSL member Barry Vains at Emu Park boardwalk. Contributed

CENTRAL Queensland's military veterans were the focus of a forum hosted by Capricornia MP, Michelle Landry MP.

The forum, held at Yeppoon RSL club, featured representatives of the Department of Veterans' Affairs and fellow National Party MP and Veterans' Affairs Minister, Darren Chester.

Ms Landry said the forum offered a candid opportunity for local Vets to have their issues heard and to provide them with a closer connection to the Department.

"We had a wonderful roll up of about 50 people across a range of ages to the forum, which shows just how important the treatment of our Veterans is to our community,” she said.

"Hardly a week goes by where I'm not approached by a Vet with to look into something; the system can still be difficult to negotiate.

"The Government is addressing these difficulties though and I'm pleased Minister Chester could attend so he could hear straight from the horse's mouth what the issues are.

"I am proud to be part of a government that actually puts our Veterans back at the forefront of our society; their service has kept us free and we must not forget.”

Ms Landry and Minister Chester also visited Cockscomb Veterans' Retreat near Cawarral, and Emu Park's shorefront ANZAC memorial.

"Central Queenslanders are enormously proud of our military history and equally as proud of our monuments," Ms Landry said.

"Emu Park's boardwalk and monuments are an icon of the region and I couldn't bring the Minister here without him seeing it.”