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Bill Will Protect Territorial Soldiers' Jobs

Territorial soldiers who serve overseas will have more security about having a job to come home to under legislation being promoted by National Defence spokesperson Wayne Mapp.

"The need for job protection was demonstrated by the deployment of territorial soldiers to East Timor in May this year. Many of these soldiers were told that they could not expect their jobs to be kept open for them if they went, and consequently were forced to give up their jobs", Dr Mapp said.

His Bill, the Volunteers Employment Protection Amendment Bill, was drawn from the ballot in Parliament today.

"The territorials provide a valuable back-up to our regular forces. But they should not be asked to make a choice between serving their country and retaining their livelihood at home."

"While the protection offered in my Bill will not be an absolute guarantee, it will give territorial soldiers a reasonable expectation that they can go overseas without the fear of being unable to return to their jobs," Dr Mapp said.

The protection amounts to the same level of protection as provided in Parental Leave legislation. Employment of those enlisted in the Territorial Forces is currently protected for initial basic training up to three months, and for three weeks a year for continued training exercises, but was never extended to include actual overseas deployment.

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