26 September 2023

Census uncovers more veterans in the State

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New data collected in the national 2021 Census has revealed that South Australia’s veteran population is more than double the figure previously on record.

Highlighting Census data released last month (28 June), Minister for Veterans Affairs, Geoff Brock said that at least 3.2 per cent of the State’s population (i.e. 47,852) was currently, or had previously served, in the Australian Defence Force (ADF).

“While records exist for current serving ADF members, historically the only estimate of former serving personnel related to card-holder data from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA),” Mr Brock said.

“There are approximately 18,000 South Australian veterans registered with DVA,” he said.

“This is the first time a comprehensive snapshot of the current and former serving population in South Australia has been developed, following the addition of a targeted question about military service history in the 2021 Census.”

Mr Brock said the data showed that approximately one-third (32 per cent) of the South Australian veteran community – which includes current serving ADF members – was aged 15 to 54 years, highlighting the need for future efforts to focus on contemporary veterans and their families in policy and program planning and delivery.

The Minister said the largest group of people in South Australia who had ever served was aged 65 to 74 years, which was reflective of those who served in the Vietnam war.

“The information will be invaluable in enabling the government to better target policies and programs to support the veteran community,” he said.

“It is telling that ADF veterans were more likely to have volunteered in the previous 12 months (21 per cent) than those who had never served in the ADF (15 per cent),” Mr Brock said.

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