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NORFORCE and DIDP graduation parade.



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THE HON. WARREN SNOWDON MP Minister for Defence Science and Personnel THE HON. BRENDAN O’CONNOR MP Minister for Employment Participation

www.defence.gov.au

Saturday, 30 May 2009 094/2009

NORFORCE AND DIDP GRADUATION PARADE

Minister for Defence Science and Personnel, the Hon. Warren Snowdon MP, today congratulated the first Defence Indigenous Development Program (DIDP) participants at the NORFORCE Induction Course graduation parade.

“The newly graduated NORFORCE soldiers, and particularly the 20 students that have participated as members of the pilot Defence Indigenous Development Program (DIDP), should feel extremely proud of their achievements,” Mr Snowdon said.

“The DIDP forms part of the Australian Defence Force Indigenous Employment Strategy and the Army Indigenous Strategy, and illustrates Defence’s commitment to closing the Indigenous employment gap.

“The 20 DIDP candidates will now commence 4 months of training at Charles Darwin University - Katherine Campus, before undertaking another 2 weeks of military training which qualifies them to be NORFORCE patrolmen. At the completion of that military phase they will resume training at the Katherine Campus until graduation on 18 December 2009.

The Minister for Employment Participation, Brendan O'Connor said whether the men ultimately choose a career within Defence, or pursue other work, the next seven months will be life changing, and already they have gained skills and confidence that will serve them into the future.

"I am keen to see the results of this pilot so that we can consider future plans to increase the training and employment opportunities for Indigenous Australians in remote communities, and I wish all the graduates today the very best for the future," Mr O’Connor said.

The Defence Indigenous Development Program is a joint initiative between the Department of Defence, the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations and the Northern Territory Department of Education and Training.

Media note: Imagery will be available at http://www.defence.gov.au/media/download

Media contacts: Kate Sieper (Warren Snowdon): 02 6277 7620 or 0488 484 689 Campbel Giles (Brendan O’Connor): 02 6277 7630 or 0407 972 900 Defence Media Liaison: 02 6265 3343 or 0408 498 664