Minister for Veterans affairs Matt Keogh has announced $17 million in new funding for veterans programs across the country.
This includes $520,341 for RSL Lifecare Riverina, and $1,263,344.38 for Pro Patria veterans wellness centre in Wagga.
This is a monumental turnaround for Pro Patria, which just six months ago was unsure of whether it would have the funding to continue operating.
Pro Patria board member Jacqui Van de Velde said the new funding would allow them to host the defence shed on site, creating easier access for the veterans community.
"This is a huge endorsement of the work we're doing at Pro Patria. It's a boost in morale for our 100 per cent volunteer organisation, and every member of the community who has supported us," she said.
"Materially, it means we can bring forward our plans to house the defence shed on site with us.
"We're delighted. We're going to have our skates on because it's a massive project we have to get organised, but we are absolutely thrilled."
IN OTHER NEWS:
The new funding was announced jointly by the minister, and local MP Michael McCormack.
VetIn a warm show of bipartisanship, the Labor minister, and Nationals former deputy prime minister complimented each other's commitment to the veterans services.
"Matt is a minister who right from the very get-go reached out to me knowing the importance of military to Wagga Wagga and wanted to have a briefing and wanted to have a discussion about what was needed in this city," Mr McCormack said.
"I appreciate he is a minister who really gets into the nitty gritty of his portfolio, and I appreciate his visit today.
"I know we made a commitment prior to the election to the veterans in our city. Today, that commitment has gone part of the way to being honoured."
The ministerial visit to Wagga coincides with new data showing the problem of veterans suicide has not improved since data started being collected in 1996.
According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), at least 1677 current and former defence personnel have died by suicide in this time.
Chair of the Royal Commission into Defence and Veterans Suicide Nick Kaldas said this reinforces the need for urgent action to stop the senseless loss of life.
"This report reinforces that we are dealing with a national crisis," Commissioner Kaldas said.
"I urge the Government and its agencies to work with us to achieve better outcomes for serving and ex-serving ADF members, and their families."
Minister Keogh said while the data does not include changes that have taken place since the start of the Royal Commission, it pointed to a worrying trend.
He said there was more work to be done on understanding the reasons veterans self-harm.
"We've seen with the Royal Commission into Defence and Veterans Suicide that we can't just wait. We've got to take action," he said.
"Here in Wagga, we've got over 5000 current serving personnel and veterans and their families on top of that. We know supporting veterans in this community is very important.
"It's complex stuff we're trying to understand. That's why we're really looking forward to the Royal Commission's final report next year."
The Veteran Wellbeing Grants One-Off Program will fund $16,971,075 worth of programs across the country.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.