Apr 24, 2023

Former Governor-General shares ANZAC Day stories with pre-schoolers to raise awareness for Veterans


RSL LifeCare has launched their intergenerational series of content intended to honour, reflect and commemorate the sacrifices that thousands have made throughout generations, along with supporting the need for ongoing and improved services for veterans.

New research has also found that only 43% of Australians agree that veterans are adequately supported with essential services such as mental and physical healthcare and financial assistance.

The survey, which considered the views of over a 1000 Australian participants, follows the work of RSL LifeCare in creating a greater sense of awareness and support for veterans throughout the year and comes in the lead up to ANZAC Day on April 25.

Almost 2 in 3 of the survey participants knew a current or past member of the Australian or New Zealand defence force, but less than 32% were able to correctly define a veteran as a person who served at least a day as a part of the defence force.

53% of participants expressed that greater access to mental and physical healthcare was the highest priority for supporting veterans, followed by income support and assistance (15%), and helping homelessness (12%).

The RSL LifeCare content 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, who sat down with pre-schoolers from the Little Diggers PreSchool, located as part of the RSL LifeCare ANZAC Village.

“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,” said RSL LifeCare Chief Executive Janet Muir.

Sir General Cosgrove said his 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.”

The report highlighted that 78% of Australians were planning to commemorate ANZAC Day in 2023, compared to 70% in 2022 and nearly 1 in 5 revealed that the public holiday would be more relevant to them this year than in previous years.

Although 1 in 5 survey participants between the ages of 18 to 29 years felt that ANZAC Day will be more relevant to them this year, 2 in 5 felt that younger Australians did not consider it as important as older Aussies.

RSL LifeCareNSW has also 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.

“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,” said Ms Muir.

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