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New Act will protect soldiers' jobs

Dr Wayne Mapp National MP

3 March 2004

New Act will protect soldiers' jobs

Members of the territorial and reserve forces will welcome today's expected enactment of the Volunteers Employment Protection Bill, says the Bill's sponsor, National Party MP Dr Wayne Mapp.

The new law will ensure the civilian jobs of territorial soldiers and naval reservists will be protected while they are on duty. The Government will partially reimburse employers to cover the costs of keeping the jobs open.

Dr Mapp says job protection is particularly important to the future of the army's territorial force, which is already struggling with low numbers.

"During the East Timor deployment, territorials made up almost 20% of our military force there. As a result of their service, many of those soldiers lost their civilian jobs.

"I introduced this Bill four years ago, and had the legislation been passed sooner soldiers deployed to East Timor would have benefited.

"But at least soldiers on future deployments will have their civilian jobs protected.

Dr Mapp says he is pleased a new Employers Support Council has been established to boost territorial and reservist membership.

"In these uncertain times, there is a greater need for territorials and reservists.

"The new legislation benefits everyone; the Armed Forces get additional trained personnel, more people will be able to serve as territorials, and employers will have more confident and capable employees," says Dr Mapp.

Ends

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