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Reforms to boost ADF recruitment and retention [and] Fact sheet.

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I am pleased to announce today $1 billion in new funding over the next 10 years for a series of initiatives to boost Australian Defence Force recruitment and retention.

Australia is exceptionally well served by our defence force, and I want to acknowledge the dedication and professionalism of our service men and women - many of whom are serving overseas - as we head into the Christmas season.

Developing and sustaining a highly capable defence force has been one of my Government’s highest priorities. Accordingly, we have set the target of expanding the ADF from the current 51,000 full-time personnel to 57,000.

Australia’s strong economy, record low unemployment and competitive labour market mean that to meet that target we have both to increase enlistment from around 4700 a year to around 6500 a year and reduce the current separation rate of around 11 per cent a year to below 10 per cent.

Major initiatives in this innovative and comprehensive package include: • Measures totalling $371 million over the next 10 years to streamline ADF recruiting by: - reducing the time from enquiry to application and enlistment, and

- better aligning recruit entry standards with contemporary demographic and community realities - without compromising quality • A military gap year scheme worth $306 million over the next 10 years which will give up to 1000 17 to 24-year-olds who have finished year 12 (or

equivalent) in the previous two years an opportunity to experience military training and lifestyle for 12 months. • Retention bonuses and allowances totalling $226 million over the next seven years for personnel in critical positions and with key skill sets.

This is the first phase of a major overhaul of ADF recruitment and retention strategies. It complements other initiatives Defence is taking, including enhancements to the Cadet program and a more supportive career planning system that will give ADF members greater control over their careers and more certainty and balance in their lives. Further measures will be announced during 2007.

15 December 2006


Australian Government Changes to ADF Recruitment and Retention

• Recruitment and retention of Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel is a high priority for the Australian Government.

• The ADF needs to grow to a full time strength of 57,000 by 2016, up from around 51,000 in 2006.

• To achieve this, enlistment needs to increase from around 4,670 personnel per year annum to 6,500 and the ADF will need to retain more people by reducing its separation rate from over 11 to below 10 per cent per year.

Measures to date:

• As part of its White Paper funding commitment in 2001, the Australian Government committed $500 million for personnel initiatives ($100 million per year for five years). This was to meet ADF needs as outlined in the 2000 Defence White Paper, and other Government initiatives.

• The 2006-07 Budget provided $194 million to address shortages in the critical trades across the ADF and to provide temporary relief through backfilling of vacant military positions.

o $25 million for recruiting initiatives associated with the new Defence Force Recruiting Strategic Plan. o $62 million for bonuses for specific RAN critical trades and categories. o $34 million for other initiatives to address shortages in other areas. o $17 million for the ADF rehabilitation programme. o $56 million to provide Defence civilian and contractors to temporarily

fill vacant military positions in the Defence non Service Groups.

New Measures:

É $1 billion of new funding over the next decade towards stabilising, growing and maintaining our Defence Force. This is the first phase of a major overhaul of ADF recruitment and retention strategies, with further phases to be developed in 2007.

• Recruitment and retention shortages in the ADF are complex issues, with multiple causes. They require comprehensive and innovative solutions that address demographic changes, workforce availability and community expectations.

• This package focuses on:

- streamlining the ADF recruitment processes; - making a career in the ADF more accessible; and - financial retention incentives to maintain the ADF as an employer of choice.



• Targeted retention bonuses and allowances will be used as a short term measure while other major career management and remuneration reforms are developed.

- $226 million has been allocated to six new bonuses and allowances over the next seven years targeted at selected personnel in critical roles and with critical skills; and

- Over $100 million has been earmarked for Navy Seagoing and Submarine Service Allowances, subject to independent Defence Force Remuneration Tribunal consideration.

Bonus Types:

- Retention bonuses of up to $25,000 for selected Navy and Army employment and rank groups who hold high-value skills and experience.

- An initial one-year retention bonus of $10,000 followed by completion bonuses of $30,000 for three years additional service for military ranks critical to Army workforce growth.

- Retention bonuses of $17,500 or $25,000 to encourage currently serving soldiers to undertake trade training and transfer to technical trade employment groups critical to Army workforce expansion.

- Over $100 million has been earmarked for a review of Navy sea going and submarine service allowances, subject to independent Defence Force Remuneration Tribunal consideration.

Recruiting Reform:

• $371 million has been allocated for the reform of Defence Force Recruiting over the next 10 years. The reforms will see major improvements to the recruiting processes, allowing a greater number of applicants to be processed more quickly.

• The time taken to recruit people will be drastically cut by restructuring the model and processes over the next 18 months.

• The first principle of this restructure will be a customer focus. Candidates will be treated as customers in order to meet their expectations.

• We will reduce the time taken to process enlistments from an average of 30 weeks to: • six weeks for General Entry. • two weeks for Reservists.

• less than three months for Officers (due to limited intakes each year). • there will be a one day enlistment model for Army Reservists.

• We will cut red tape by reducing the number of documents required at initial stages of enlistment, including medical and security checking, and the requirement to provide copies of high school qualifications.


• From 1 January 2007 a range of initiatives will be progressively implemented across recruiting centres in different locations nationally. Initial improvements will include the new focus on customer management, introduction of one day provisional enlistment for Reservists and changed medical assessment processes.

Gap Year :

• $306 million over 10 years has been allocated for the new Military Gap Year enlistment programme for Year 12 (or equivalent) completers.

- This is an opportunity for school leavers to experience military training and lifestyle and can be taken up within two years of completing Year 12 or equivalent for 17-24 yr olds.

- It will provide for up to 1,000 paid training, skills development and work experience positions in Navy and Army and Air Force for 12 months, with no further obligation to serve.

• Those gap year members who return to full-time service after completing a recognised tertiary or vocational qualification will receive an incentive of $10,000.

• There will be many who will decide to stay in their chosen Service on a full-time basis and they will have open to them the full range of benefits available to those who serve their nation including subsidised home loans.

• The indicative salary package will be over $40,000 depending on the career category that is selected, which reflects normal military salaries and allowances when undergoing training and employment in a unit.

• Additionally, they will have access to standard ADF benefits such as free medical and dental services, subsidised accommodation and meals and employment allowances.

Career Management

• Families expect to be able to plan the lives of their children, create friendships and care for loved ones.

• A better and more supportive system for planning careers will be developed by the Services with advice and input from external professional human resource experts.

• A ‘Work/Life Balance’ benchmark will be created to give ADF members and their families more certainty and balance in their own lives. This will define a standard annual period of time for each employment category in rank that is expected to be spent at home or at work.



• Cadets make up 11 per cent of ADF enlistments even though they only make up one per cent of the ADF target group. Anecdotally, we know that most cadets are interested in a career in the ADF. There are currently 21,630 cadets nationwide.

• Over the past year, Cadets have been consulted on what would help them pursue a career in the ADF and as a result, a Cadet recruiting framework has been developed to ensure Cadets have access to the career materials they need.

• There will be: • Annual Cadet camps (with the first one commencing in 2007) • A Cadet career DVD which showcases the diverse range of careers that can be pursued in the ADF (there are 213 different careers including

medical professionals, musicians, cooks, mechanics, lawyers, nurses, engineers etc). The DVD features serving ADF members who were former cadets. • The development of online forums for cadets to ask questions of military personnel about careers • Monitoring of cadet recruitment applications from enquiry to enlistment • More resources such as boots, jackets and equipment, access to more sea riding opportunities

• Further Cadet initiatives will be considered in the next phase of initiatives.