Minister for Defence People and Veterans Tobias Ellwood attended the Ministerial Five Eyes Conference in Sydney, where he joined delegates from the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand to discuss best practice in care for ex-service personnel…

Delegates from each nation came together under a shared commitment to their defence communities, and took part in discussions on mental health support, and the transition process undertaken by the military as they adjust to civilian life.

The Minister was hosted by The Honourable Darren Chester, Australian Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Defence Personnel, and joined by General Walter Natynczyk, Deputy Minister of Veterans Affairs, Government of Canada; Ms Jacquelyn Hayes-Byrd, Acting Assistant Secretary for Human Resources and Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs, United States of America; The Hon Ron Mark MP, Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, New Zealand; and Ms Bernadine Mackenzie, Head of Veterans’ Affairs, New Zealand.

During the conference, the Minister addressed the delegates on the progress made at the last meeting, which was hosted in London. The conference then heard from leading experts on the latest international research on suicide prevention, the importance of evidence-based research to inform new policy, and the promotion of employment and education for those preparing to leave service, and supporting veterans struggling with mental health.

Minister for Defence People and Veterans Tobias Ellwood said: “Following the success of last year’s conference, it’s an honour to be able to continue to discuss the ways in which each of our nations supports those who have served. By combining our knowledge and expertise, we can continue to improve and enhance the way we thank our service leavers for their dedication and sacrifice.”

The Minister and his international counterparts then signed a statement of intent, which recognises the benefits of working together and exploring examples of best practice in support and care for the defence and veteran communities and their families.