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Indigenous Recruitment A Priority

Indigenous Recruitment A Priority

The Minister for Defence Science and Personnel, Warren Snowdon, today identified Indigenous recruitment as a priority for the Australian Defence Force.

Speaking during Question Time, the Minister said that although Indigenous Australians make up 1.4 per cent of the Australian workforce, only 0.6 per cent of Defence is Aboriginal.

“We know all too well that one of the biggest challenges facing the Australian Defence Force is a shortage of the right people with the right skills.

“We need to make the most of Australia’s human resources, and while attracting Indigenous people into the Defence force represents a challenge, it is also a huge opportunity,” said Mr Snowdon.

The Minister said lessons can be learnt from the Regional Force Surveillance Units.

“NORFORCE based in Darwin, is 48 per cent Indigenous, and I know first hand the excellent work they have done over the last 12 months with Operation Outreach, supporting the intervention in Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory.

“They also work tirelessly protecting Australia’s borders with Operation Resolute.

“We must learn the lessons from these North Australian examples, and apply them across the whole of the ADF. The ‘one size fits all’ recruitment strategies of the previous Government, simply don’t work,” Mr Snowdon said.

“I do not make light of the difficulties. Poor health; lack of education; cultural issues; isolation, have all been much discussed in recent weeks.

“But we must do all we can to enhance the capability of the ADF; and that includes increasing Indigenous participation.

“We are currently finalising an Indigenous recruitment strategy, but whether we need mentoring, networking, cadetships or traineeships, rest assured it will be done.

“It is in the national interest.”

ENDS

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