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Recruit the soldier, retain the family.



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THE HON. WARREN SNOWDON MP Minister for Defence Science and Personnel

DAMIAN HALE MP Member for Solomon

www.defence.gov.au

Thursday, 5 March 2009 029/2008

RECRUIT THE SOLDIER, RETAIN THE FAMILY

The Minister for Defence Science and Personnel, the Hon. Warren Snowdon MP, today held the first of a series of Defence Family Forums to discuss issues of Defence Force recruitment and retention.

Joined by the member for Solomon, Damian Hale in Darwin, the Forum was strongly attended by 30 family members from Army, Air Force and Navy.

Mr Snowdon said our Australian Defence Force personnel have chosen not only a career but a way of life, and for their families it can mean frequent moves and a significant amount of time on their own, while their loved ones are deployed on operations and exercises.

“Services and support are currently offered to Defence families, but these Forums will give families the opportunity to candidly voice their opinions and share lessons and experiences of the military lifestyle,” Mr Snowdon said.

“Last year I spoke to over 200 Defence servicewomen at 17 locations around the country to uncover their thoughts and ideas for the recruitment and retention of women.

“What became very clear at those roundtables is that many of the issues challenging the retention of women were actually issues faced by any serving member with family commitments.

“I look forward this year to hearing further from the families themselves.”

Mr Hale said support from families is what makes the work of our servicemen and women possible.

“The Darwin Forum and the ones around the country that will follow offer an insight into the needs of Defence families, and the ways in which more can be done to help them to support our Defence personnel.”

Media contacts: Kate Sieper (Warren Snowdon): 02 6277 7620 or 0488 484 689 Sheena Dunne (Damien Hale): 0406 696 680 Defence Media Liaison: 02 6265 3343 or 0408 498 664