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Defence Force Ombudsman's Report Into Minors

CPA 257/05
Wednesday. 19 October 2005

DEFENCE FORCE OMBUDSMAN'S REPORT INTO MINORS IN THE ADF

Chief of the Defence Force Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston today welcomed the release of the Defence Force Ombudsman's report into the management of service personnel under the age of 18 years.

Air Chief Marshal Houston said the ADF would implement ten of the report's 11 recommendations to improve the policies and procedures for the management of young people in the Defence Force.

"In addition, we will also extend the implementation of many of the recommendations to all young members in their first year of service rather than only to those members under 18 years of age.

"Many of the challenges confronting minors in the ADF apply equally to our other young servicemen and women who are in the early stages of their careers. The Service Chiefs and I agree that more focused attention must also be given to them, particularly during their initial year of service.

"Together we will ensure that the way Defence treats minors is appropriate and consistent across the Australian Defence Force - from the recruitment phase through to employment training and then within the broader military," he said.

Defence has identified the actions required to implement these recommendations and work is already underway to improve the management of, and support to, minors.

"Defence is moving forward to implement the agreed recommendations and the result will be a more supportive recruiting, training and workplace environment that is attuned to the needs of all our younger people.

"I look forward to reporting to the Ombudsman regarding the ADF's progress in implementing these recommendations and improving the support systems for young people in the military. I thank the Ombudsman for giving Defence an opportunity to comment on the draft report," Air Chief Marshal Houston said.

Defence did not agree to the report's recommendation that the enlistment age for military service be raised to 18 years. Any move to raise the enlistment age would restrict the quality and quantity of recruits into the ADF, particularly from those States and Territories where students finish school at 17 years of age.

As at July 2005, out of a workforce of 51,200 personnel, 196 ADF members under 18 years of age were serving in the ADF.


ENDS

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