New Census data highlights importance of RSL Queensland services

RSL Queensland 28 June 2022
  • Media release

RSL Queensland has welcomed new insights into the nation’s veteran population, with 2021 Census data released today revealing around 28 per cent of Australian veterans call Queensland home.

For the first time in recent history of the Census, the Australian Bureau of Statistics recorded data on Australian Defence Force service. The highly sought-after insights provide a clearer picture of how many veterans there are in Australia and where key communities are located, which will help enable and shape effective delivery of support services.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics’ Census showed that 163,112 current serving and ex-serving ADF members lived in Queensland in 2021 and identified Townsville (15,408), Gold Coast (14,608) and Ipswich (14,326) as the regions with the highest population of total (current and ex-serving) veterans.

RSL Queensland Chief Executive Officer, Robert Skoda, said the veteran data collected by the Census will better inform and guide the delivery of the organisation’s support services to veterans and families across Queensland.

“Queensland has always been home to a significant proportion of Australia’s veteran community, something that this data confirms. With the 2021 Census insights, we can much more clearly understand where exactly these veterans are located, which will allow us to deliver the right services in the right areas,” he said.

Historically, up to 2016, data on veterans’ locations was only recorded at a national level if ADF personnel registered a claim with the Department of Veteran Affairs. Veterans were then required to update their address if they relocated, which made it challenging for Ex-Service Organisations (ESOs) to maintain up-to-date records.

“The new insights will help us continually refine our service delivery model to better meet veteran needs, particularly in regional areas and those areas that are heavily populated by veterans. It will also enable us to deploy adequate resources to assist our 230 RSL Sub Branches in local areas.

“With our unique combination of clarity on where veterans live and what they need, RSL Queensland can continue to provide wellbeing and critical support to returned service men and women and their families,” Mr Skoda said.

RSL Queensland has spent more than 100 years working to build and foster a community where veterans can find connection, support and understanding. RSL Queensland’s mission is to provide veteran support while evolving to meet the needs of our ever-changing community.



  • More than half a million Australians (581,139) have served, or are currently serving, in the ADF. 
  • Veterans 65-74 years of age account for the more than a quarter (26.1 per cent) of former serving members.
  • One in twenty (5.3 per cent) Australian households report at least one person who have served or are serving in the ADF.
  • Townsville (15,408), Gold Coast (14,608) and Ipswich (14,326) are the regions with the highest population of total (currently serving and ex-serving) ADF personnel.
  • Gold Coast (13,577), Sunshine Coast (12,485) and Wide Bay (12,312) have the highest population of ex-serving ADF personnel.



Kate McKay | RSL Queensland Senior Media Manager | 0436 012 535