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Big Boost For Reserves

Defence 2000 White Paper Our Future Defence Force

Hon. Bruce Scott, MP Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence

Wednesday, 6th December, 2000 MIN343/00

Big Boost For Reserves

The Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence, Bruce Scott, today said that the Defence White Paper mapped out the role of a new look Australian Defence Force (ADF) Reserve, which is set to become vastly different to the role played by the Reserves of the past.

“Defence 2000: Our Future Defence Force, combined with the introduction of amendments to the legislation governing the use and employment of the ADF Reserve will significantly enhance the capability of the Reserves,” Mr Scott said.

Today, the ADF Reserve comprises about 42 per cent of the total ADF.

“Reservists and their employers also will benefit from protection measures for civilian jobs and a financial support package to employers of Reservists,” Mr Scott said.

“The proposed legislative amendments will enable the Federal Government to call out the ADF Reserve as a whole, or in part, for a wide range of operations, including combat, defence emergency, peace enforcement, peacekeeping, civil and humanitarian aid and disaster relief.”

In the past two years, the ADF has utilised more Reservists on full-time service than since the end of World War II, with Reserves helping to sustain recent operations and provide surge capacity.

“The amendments will provide for new categories of Reserve service. This initiative will allow some units and individual Reservists to be held at higher levels of readiness, which in turn will give the ADF greater flexibility in recruiting and management strategies,” Mr Scott said.

“As well, the ADF will be better able to retain military experience by offering incentives to full-time members to continue serving in the Reserves rather than leaving the ADF completely.

“Reservists would also be able to request transfer to lower levels of readiness to meet their personal circumstances, which would help to retain trained people.

“Over the next decade, the ADF Reserve will be the most efficient way of providing sustainment and surge capacity, as Reserves can provide skills not always available within the permanent forces or skills which are held only in small numbers.”

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Other White Paper initiatives to support the Reserves include strengthening linkages with the community, improved training, and better recruitment and retention strategies. Initiatives outlined in Defence 2000: Our Future Defence Force include:

 a major public awareness and communications strategy which will help inform and educate the community and employers about the Government’s Reserves enhancement program, while promoting the Reserves and their contribution to Australia’s defence capability;

 augmentation of the National Defence Reserves Support Council (DRSC) which will liaise with industry and other stakeholder groups on matters affecting Reserves’ availability, as well as being an interface between the community, the Government and the ADF;

 a Government-initiated boost to resources and equipment allocated to training and equipping Reservists to meet operational requirements;

 Reservists, particularly those required to maintain high levels of readiness, will be able to commit significantly more time to training to achieve higher levels of military competencies, and to maintain those skills over time;

 the Government will develop a range of measures to manage the impact of increased commitment demanded of Reservists, their families and their employers, through changes to conditions of service, innovative ways of delivering training, and continuing consultation with employers to facilitate leave for training.

Mr Scott said the Government and Defence would improve Reserve recruitment and retention by redirecting the focus back to the communities from which Reservists are drawn.

“Community support for the Reserves is important to the overall recruiting process, and local Reserve units will play a greater role in attracting and fostering recruits. “The decisions taken by the Government this year, which will enhance the contribution of the Reserves to ADF capability, are of fundamental importance and will profoundly change the Reserves,” Mr Scott said.

More information is available from Jane Dally on (02) 6270 5124 or 0413 594019 and Mark Croxford on (02) 6277 7820 or 0401 145787.


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