Enhancements To The Reserves
The Hon. John Moore,
MP Minister for Defence, Australia
The Minister for Defence, John Moore, today said that further enhancements to the Reserves announced by the Federal Government will strengthen the Reserves' role in providing sustainment and strategic depth for the Australian Defence Force (ADF).
"To fulfil these important roles, members of the Reserves must be well trained, and available to be called-out and deployed. The Government's policies have been geared to address current deficiencies in both of these areas," Mr Moore said.
The Government today announced it would introduce a package of financial incentives to support employers who release their Reservist-employees for military training and deployment.
"We have engaged in practical discussions on what assistance would be appropriate for employers, self-employed and employee Reservists from all three services. These consultations have revealed a high level of understanding and acceptance of the need for greater levels of commitment and capability from the ADF Reserves," said Mr Moore.
Today's announcement is the latest in a series of initiatives introduced by the Federal Government since coming to office, aimed at enhancing the role of the Reserves. The initiatives include:
* In December 1999, the Government agreed to amend legislation to enable the call out of Reserves in peacetime. Drafting of the legislative amendments is underway and the new legislation will be presented in the Spring Session of Parliament;
* New legislation is being drafted to provide appropriate, associated protection and incentives to both Reservists and employers; and
* In May 2000, the Government earmarked $20 million for initiatives to enhance the contribution of the Reserve to the ADF.
The Minister said that these initiatives were a sound start to a process of enhancing the Reserves' role in the ADF, and that their role and structure would be further defined in the Government's forthcoming Defence White Paper, expected to be ready for release later this year.
"A wide-ranging review of Australia's Defence policies is being conducted, including public consultation regarding the future of our Defence Force. The Government has been pleased with the quality and number of responses so far received. The role of Australia's Reserves has figured highly in the public's views on the future of the ADF," Mr Moore said.
"The ADF relies on the contribution the Reserves can make to the effective conduct and sustainment of Defence operations. This is highlighted by the significant contribution that Reservists have made in Bougainville and in East Timor."
Currently, 13 officers and 200 other ranks from the Army Reserve are serving with the 6RAR Group. This is in addition to 200 other Reservists on full time service who are supporting the deployment from locations throughout Australia.
Also, there are 48 Reservists currently serving in Bougainville and 55 members of 4/3 RNSWR who are deployed as Rifle Company Butterworth in Malaysia.