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Reserve Company To East Timor

The Hon. Danna Vale, MP
Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence

16 May 2002

Army Reservists will play a greater role in Australia’s East Timor operations, the Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence, Danna Vale, announced today.

"A company manned largely by Reservists will deploy to East Timor as part of the next Australian rotation later this year," Minister Vale said.

"This will be the first time since World War II that a formed combat arms unit of Army Reserve soldiers has deployed on operations."

Minister Vale said the decision delivered on the Howard Government’s commitment in the 2000 Defence White Paper to make greater use of the Reserves to support and sustain ADF operations for extended periods.

"The Government’s Defence White Paper articulated a new strategic role for Reserves to stand shoulder to shoulder with their Regular counterparts in contemporary military operations," Minister Vale said.

"This is a significant move away from Reservists’ past role where they served as a mobilisation base for the ADF in times of major conflict or threat.

"Already Reservists have been successfully deployed as part of Army units, such as the 6 RAR Battalion Group that went to East Timor in 2000.

"Reservists working alongside regular Army personnel have made an invaluable contribution to Australia’s efforts in East Timor, proving they can do the job they have been trained to do."

In order to commence the necessary force preparation and pre-deployment training, Army will shortly call for Reservists to volunteer for 12-14 months’ full-time service in the infantry company.

The Reservists will deploy with the same conditions of service and allowances as their regular counterparts whilst on operations.

Minister Vale said the Federal Government recognised that balancing the needs of Reserve service with workplace requirements could be difficult for some businesses.

"Reservists bring extra skills to their workplace, and the experience gained on operational deployments such as this will be of great benefit to businesses which employ Reservists," the Minister said.

"In addition, eligible employers will also be able to access the Federal Government’s Employer Support Payment scheme which provides compensation to businesses for releasing employees to serve in the deployment."

"The men and women of the Army Reserve are an essential and integral part of the Army and I am confident that the Reserve company will repeat the success of Reserve contributions to previous deployments."

© Scoop Media

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