Australia will no longer have a commissioner to investigate veteran suicides from May next year if the government does not get the underpinning legislation over the line.
Former ACT magistrate Bernadette Boss has been in the role since late last year and has conducted more than a dozen roundtables to learn more about the issue.
Dr Boss has an interim report due in November before her final version in May 2022.
And then her role will fizzle.
"If there is no legislation her role will finish when she presents her final report in May next year," official secretary for the national commissioner Toni Pirani told a Senate estimates hearing in Canberra on Wednesday.
Ms Pirani said the roundtable meetings had included government departments including Defence and veterans' affairs.
The commissioner has also met with families of people who have taken their lives.
The federal government has been unable to legislate Dr Boss' powers, as Senate crossbenchers including Tasmanian independent Jacqui Lambie want a royal commission instead.
The government had resisted calls for more than a year but negotiations are now underway for such a probe.
Several coalition backbenchers have spoken in favour of a royal commission, which is also supported by Labor.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison also remains committed to making the commission to prevent veteran suicides permanent.
Dr Boss currently has no powers to compel people to give her information.
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Australian Associated Press