1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2009–10  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 04/06/2010   
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Contents >> Defence >> People


As at June 2009, Defence was one of the largest employers in Australia, with a diverse workforce of over 70, 000 permanent employees, plus part-time staff and Reservists.

  • The total ADF workforce was 81,106, including 17,918 Navy Permanent, and Reserve members, 45,166 Army Permanent, and Reserve members and 18,022 Air Force Permanent, and Reserve members. In addition, 22,166 former permanent and Active Reserve ADF members remain in the Standby Reserve, a significant latent capability potentially available to support operations.
  • The total APS workforce was 21, 006, including all APS staff recorded as active employees and included full-time, part-time, ongoing and non-ongoing, and paid and unpaid employees in both Defence and the Defence Materiel Organisation.
  • 2,630 Reservists were also Defence APS employees.
  • Contractors and Australian industry also contribute to the Defence workforce by providing support in a variety of areas and are an important element of the total Defence effort

Detailed information on the Defence workforce can be found at <http://www.defence.gov.au/annualreports/>.

Recruitment and retention

The ADF has had a Recruitment and Retention Program in place since 2007, with $3.1 billion allocated over a ten year period to a range of initiatives. The program included retention bonuses focussed on reducing separation rates amongst critical categories and ranks in the short term, while longer-term structural change, remuneration reform and other benefits were put in place to encourage members to stay longer. At the same time a number of improvements have been made to Defence’s recruitment practices. Some related developments are listed below.

In 2008-09 growth in the permanent ADF workforce was broadly on track. As outlined in the White Paper, the ADF is required to grow to a full time strength of approximately 57,800 over the next decade. In the 12 months to June 2009, the permanent ADF strength increased by 1,925, bringing the total ADF permanent workforce to 55,068. This is an increase of 3.6 per cent on the 2007-08 total of 53,143.

Multicultural Recruitment and Retention Strategy

Defence has continued to encourage multicultural recruitment and retention in the ADF. Research into impediments to the enlistment of individuals with culturally diverse backgrounds has led to the development of a recruiting marketing campaign, currently progressing through Government clearance processes, an alumni visit program for personnel from multicultural backgrounds to promote the ADF, mentoring, coaching, partnering research with tertiary institutions, as well as community engagement with Ethnic Councils.
Indigenous Participation

Indigenous recruitment and retention is also a priority for Defence. The Directorate of Indigenous Affairs was launched in July 2008 to provide a single point of contact for Defence Indigenous issues. The Directorate oversees the implementation of initiatives and strategies arising from the Defence Reconciliation Action Plan, which is available at <http://www.defence.gov.au/fr/>

The ADF Indigenous Employment Strategy

The ADF Indigenous Employment Strategy encompasses initiatives to attract and recruit more Indigenous people from remote, regional and urban communities throughout Australia. Work is in progress under its three themes of changing perceptions; specialised pathways; and ongoing support to Indigenous ADF members. A cultural integration package is being developed to assist Defence workplaces in embracing cultural diversity on a daily basis. Indigenous pre-recruitment courses have been trialled in Townsville, Newcastle and Western Sydney, resulting in a promising level of enlistments.

The APS Indigenous Employment Strategy is under review to comprehensively address the attraction and retention of Indigenous Australians through increasing opportunities to participate more fully in the Defence APS workforce. This includes participation by Defence in the National Indigenous Cadetship Project, Indigenous Graduate Recruitment, Indigenous entry level recruitment and the Indigenous Contract Management Diploma Course. Staff also attended several Indigenous Employment and Carers Expos in Queensland. In addition, the Defence Science Indigenous Scholarship was awarded for the first time in March 2009.

Army Aboriginal Community Assistance Program

The Aboriginal Community Assistance Program is a cooperative program between the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and the Army to improve environmental health conditions within remote Aboriginal communities.

The program seeks to maximise benefits to Indigenous communities by focusing on projects that allow the Army to make best use of its construction and capability, by capitalising on the Army’s ability to holistically deliver a range of services to remote Indigenous communities that would not normally be available in a single project.

Indigenous Liaison Officers

Indigenous Liaison Officers develop and maintain links with local Indigenous communities. They are responsible for consulting with Indigenous groups on issues pertaining to the use and upkeep of Defence training areas on heritage land as part of Defence Heritage Management Plans and Indigenous Land Use Agreements.

The Defence estate

The Defence estate is the largest real estate portfolio in Australia. It covers approximately 374 major properties (including 60 major bases), 25,000 assets, and millions of hectares of land embracing five world heritage areas. Defence provides facilities and infrastructure in support of the activities of personnel across all states and territories in Australia.
Climate Change

Defence is serious about our environmental responsibilities to ensure a sustainable future. As part of the ‘Combat Climate Change’ initiative, Defence achieved a reduction of more than five per cent in electricity usage across the portfolio in the past year. In addition, 234 infrastructure and capability related projects were subject to environmental impact assessments, and Defence continues to implement and develop the Environmental Management System across the three million hectares of Defence estate.

Defence Housing Australia (DHA)

DHA provides high quality housing and relocation services to members of the ADF to meet the operational requirements of Defence.

DHA was established as a statutory authority under the Defence Housing Australia Act 1987 (Cwlth). DHA manages around 17,000 residences in all states and territories of Australia, representing around $7 billion worth of housing stock. Over 60 per cent of these residences are owned by private investors and leased back to DHA through the Sale and Leaseback Program. DHA manages approximately 24,500 relocations for ADF members and their families each year. This service includes arrangement of removal requirements; payment of entitlements; allocation of homes and a smooth move-out process. Staff support ADF members from 22 Housing Management Centres and other offices located across Australia.

DHA has an innovative sale and leaseback program, which ensures efficient use of DHA's capital, allowing DHA to develop quality residential properties in key locations across the country, sell them to investors and then lease them back.

On 3 February 2009 the Government announced details of funding to be provided to DHA as part of its Nation Building - Economic Stimulus Plan. The focus of the funding is on jobs creation and securing long term economic growth. As part of the stimulus plan, $251.58 million will be provided to DHA to construct an additional 802 new residential houses throughout Australia over the new two years.

These 802 additional houses will supply much needed accommodation to serving ADF members and their families and will also materially increase the supply of residential housing at a time of historically low national rental vacancy. This will assist with improving rental accommodation affordability for the community.

For more information about the DHA, refer to its website <http://www.dha.gov.au>.

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