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Making it easier for troops to wear the boots they want to wear

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Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare today announced the trial of a new system to make it easier for soldiers to wear non-issued boots, if they want to.

Currently soldiers can choose to wear Army standard issue boots or they can purchase their own from a list of boots approved by the Chief of Army for use on operations and exercises.

Defence will now trial a new system where eligible soldiers who decide not to use the standard issue boots will receive a reimbursement of $192 to help them purchase boots on the approved list.

The $192 is equivalent to the Defence purchase price of the standard issue boots to which they are entitled. This reimbursement will be pegged to the dollar value of any future standard combat boots.

“This will make it easier and cheaper for troops who don’t want to wear the standard issue boots to get the boots of their choice,” Mr Clare said.

“Soldiers have told me that they want to be able to choose their own boots - and this will make it easier for them to do that.”

The first soldiers to be offered this will be the 750 troops deploying to Afghanistan early next year with Mentoring Task Force 4. The soldiers are primarily based at Enoggera Barracks in Brisbane.

The standard boots are proven general purpose boots, but Defence recognises that one boot type cannot meet the requirements and preferences of all soldiers.

“One of the most important pieces of personal equipment a soldier has is their boots. Every foot is different, so choice is important. This will make it easier for soldiers to wear the boots they want to,” Mr Clare said.

Boots approved by the Chief of Army include: · ALTAMA 4158 3LC Hot Weather · Belleville M590 or M591 Hot Weather · Bates 30501 Durashock desert

· Crossfire Peacekeeper plus · DANNER Arcadia Desert

· ALTAMA 4156

· MEINDL Desert fox Safari

· LOWA Urban Desert

· GARMONT T8 Multi Terrain

Soldiers deploying to Afghanistan will continue to be issued the Zamberlan cold weather boot in addition to their standard kit.

The initial trial will commence in September 2011 with further phases of the trial to roll out to other Army units in 2012.

A Request for Tender for the future supply of standard combat boots will be released shortly.

It is expected that this reform will eventually reduce the number of standard combat boots issued.

This will be reflected in the upcoming Request for Tender, to ensure that the number of standard issue boots purchased can be adjusted based on demand.

Media contact: Korena Flanagan - 02 6277 7620 [25/06/2011]