Glenn Kolomeitz has welcomed the announcement of a royal commission on veteran suicides.
But the Illawarra-based former RSL NSW boss is adamant the commission needs to include families of Australian military veterans who took their own lives.
The Gerroa resident has played a major role in a long-running campaign from former soldiers and their families calling on the government to "fix the broken system" and call a royal commission on veteran suicides.
"I've lost mates and clients, and clients who were mates to suicide, and I've met with some of the families in more recent years," Mr Kolomeitz said.
"I've been adamant that we need the deep dive of the royal commission and we need an ongoing monitoring after the royal commission."
Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the royal commission on Monday, just days after Mr Morrison revealed Australia would remove its final 80 Defence personnel from Afghanistan in September, ending the nation's longest war after 20 years in the country.
"Particularly pleased the government is implementing the model that I and a number of others have been advocating for - that is a royal commission followed by a standing or permanent commission to implement recommendations and to maintain an over-watch," Mr Kolomeitz said.
'Our hard work has come to fruition but the real hard work starts now - we have to make sure now that proper, rigorous terms of reference are drafted for this royal commission.
"These terms of reference must absolutely include the families of our Defence members who have taken their lives. That is not negotiable as far as I'm concerned.
"Those families must have a significant say in the preparation of terms and reference."
These terms of reference must absolutely include the families of our Defence members who have taken their lives. That is not negotiable as far as I'm concerned.Glenn Kolomeitz
Mr Kolomeitz though was adamant there was no place in the crafting of the terms of reference for this inquiry for the Department of Defence and the Department of Veteran Affairs.
"I anticipate both Defence and Veterans Affairs being held to account as a result of this inquiry," he said.
Julie-Ann Finney, who lost her veteran son Dave Stafford Finney to PTSD-related suicide, started a petition for a royal commission that was signed by more than 409,000 people.
"I'm glad the government has finally listened. I will say however we could have been 12 months into a royal commission by now had the government listened earlier," Mr Kolomeitz said.
"It is proper to ask how many veteran lives were lost in those wasted 12 months.
It is proper to ask how many veteran lives were lost in those wasted 12 months.Glenn Kolomeitz
"But I think we've just got to get on with it and make this thing happen and make both the royal commission and the standing commission work."
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