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Australian Defence Force Cadet Scheme independent review.

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Minister for Defence -----------------------------------------------------------------------


THE HON. JOEL FITZGIBBON MP Minister for Defence


THE HON. DR MIKE KELLY MP Parliamentary Secretary for Defence Support

Friday, 6 June 2008 055 /2008


The Rudd Government extends its deepest sympathies’ to the family and friends of Cadet Nathan Francis. As previously reported Cadet Francis passed away on Friday 30 March 2007 from an anaphylactic reaction during an Army cadet exercise in Daylesford, Victoria.

Comcare today announced in respect of Cadet Francis’ death that it is taking legal action in the Federal Court of Australia against the Australian Defence Force. The action relates to an alleged breach of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1991.

Since coming to Government one of our priorities has been to review the Australian Defence Force Cadets (ADFC) Scheme. Today I can announce that I have asked my Parliamentry Secretary for Defence Support the Hon. Dr Mike Kelly to undertake this review.

After receiving briefings from the Department of Defence we have become increasingly concerned by the lack of clarity in regards to accountability, probity and transparency of the management of the Scheme.

The ADF Cadet Scheme is a valuable youth organisation that plays an important role in shaping the values and life experiences of the young people that participate in it.

Young people expect though, to participate in a Scheme that is relevant to them, providing enjoyable and unique activities.

Parents expect that the Scheme will be well administered and that activities will be delivered in as safe an environment as possible. We believe this independent review will lead to a more robust, coordinated program that is more attractive to young people.

Dr Kelly will work with the Chief of the Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston AC AFC, and the Secretary of the Department of

Defence Nick Warner, to draft specific terms of reference for an independent review of the Scheme based on the following themes:

* What should be the objectives and desired outcomes of the ADF Cadet Scheme? * How the Scheme should be structured and administered to ensure appropriate “duty of care” standards. * What is the appropriate age bracket for participation in the Scheme? * Recommendations for the efficient administration of the Scheme, including bringing it into line with other Defence Organisation reforms. * Recommendations concerning the appropriate community context for the Scheme, including how it may be employed to deal with youth support issues in areas of concern. * Proposals for generating a standardised program and curriculum. This is to include suggestions for creating a program designed to maximise appeal to contemporary youth, youth organisations, parents and teachers. * Proposals for a standard criteria, selection processes and accountability framework for personnel involved in direct contact with participants in the Scheme.

The review will involve comprehensive community consultation, details of which will be released once the terms of reference have been agreed upon. The composition of the independent review panel will be announced shortly.

Dr. Kelly will shortly announce the terms of reference for the review, which is expected to be completed by the end of August 2008.

Media contacts: Christian Taubenschlag (Fitzgibbon): 02 6277 7800 or 0438 595 567 Mark Sjolander (Kelly): 02 6277 4840 or 0407 102 220

Defence Media Liaison: 02 6265 3343 or 0408 498 664



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