Defence has a procurement policy for Aborigines but not for Veterans

Defence has a procurement policy for Aborigines but not for Veterans.

You would have thought if Defence cared about their Veterans they would be working with them to gain meaningful employment after they leave the military.

Personally I would like to see some sort of engineering corps that is engaged in building critical sovereign infrastructure offered as a means of continuing employment.

Learn more at defence.gov.au.

Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Legislation Committee – 25/10/2023
Department of Defence

Senator RENNICK: I note that Defence has an Indigenous defence industry procurement policy. Does Defence have a veterans procurement policy for veterans who run their own businesses?

Mr Deeble : We don’t have any specific policy for veterans, but we do take account of those considerations as we’re looking at various companies.

Senator RENNICK: Is that something you could look at organising, similar to what you’ve got with the Defence Indigenous Procurement Strategy?

Mr Deeble : That’s potentially something to consider in the future.

Senator RENNICK: I note that the Department of Defence has a diversity inclusion policy that includes a number of different identities. Does it also have an inclusion policy for veterans as they move from operational to non-operational roles?

Gen. Campbell : Could you explain a bit more ‘moving from operational to non-operational’?

Senator RENNICK: As they retire from being on the frontline to administrative roles, as they get older?

Gen. Campbell : But they’re still in the Defence Force, is that what you’re asking?

Senator RENNICK: Well, do you provide them with opportunities that move them from those front-end roles—obviously when you’re younger you’re more physical. Rather than just retiring, do you offer the opportunity for them to get involved in administrative roles?

Gen. Campbell : In the general sense, yes. The career pathway of development of our people can extend from the time that they join the Australian Defence Force through to the standard retirement age, which is typically 60 and in the reserve it’s 65. There are some, on occasion, waiver opportunities in particular circumstances, but we would see through career active operational service—training for operations in regiments, battalions, squadrons and aboard ship; headquarter roles; training roles; and representational roles—through a career life.

Senator RENNICK: What’s your churn rate around mid-age as they move from more front-end operational roles to non-operational roles, as you just described?

Gen. Campbell : If you are appointed to a ship’s company in an operational role, to an Air Force squadron or a wing, or to an Army regiment, you might be, using the Army ranks, a private, a junior soldier. You may be the lieutenant colonel battalion commander. You may be the air commodore. You may be the commander of flotillas, a commodore, a commander or a naval captain. You may be a petty officer and so forth. So there’s a whole variety of times through your career pathway where you could be described as assigned to units, preparing or readying or training for the potential commitment to operations. And, indeed, when our aircraft and our ships leave Australia, they are on a form of operation, and a very serious form of operation, so it’s not very easy to disaggregate the force in the way that you are describing. There are some people who—

Senator RENNICK: Sorry to interrupt you, but there are clear—I mean, you know if someone’s working at a desk, as opposed to someone who’s on the tools or flying planes or on a Navy ship.

Gen. Campbell : Yes.

Senator RENNICK: That’s what I’m getting at.

Gen. Campbell : Yes. But we rotate them—two or three years at the desk, maybe back to the regiment or squadron, now a couple of years overseas in a representational appointment, back somewhere in a training development area, back to a regiment or a squadron or a ship’s company.

Senator RENNICK: So how many people in their 50s, for example, have you got on the tools, on those front-end roles? I’d imagine that’s something that, as you get to that age, you could be moved away from.

Gen. Campbell : Fifty-year-olds—let me see. Most of our two-stars, if I could—

Senator RENNICK: You can take it on notice. It wasn’t a rhetorical question.

CHAIR: I’m just mindful of time. Are there any particulars that the committee can assist with to try to get this information to the senator offline?

Gen. Campbell : Absolutely.

CHAIR: I’m just mindful of the time.

Gen. Campbell : We just need to narrow the question a bit. General Fox is going to take the question. You’re looking at age profile for employment at, let’s say, the 45 to 50 and 50 to 55 bracket?

Senator RENNICK: Yes. I’ve met a lot of veterans who come out in their late 30s and early 40s. Some struggle with leaving the military, and I’m just trying to consider ways to keep them engaged with the military in, say, less strenuous front-end roles. I’ll leave it at that.

CHAIR: They’ll take it on notice. We’ll have DVA later on as well, but I think there were some good points from the senator. We will break for dinner. The intention of the committee is that, after the break, Senator Shoebridge will have about 20 or so minutes more. We’ll then move on to the other agencies. The committee, at the moment, has agreed to release Defence Housing. We’ll keep you up to date once we come back after the dinner break. General, did you have something that you needed to mention to the committee?

Gen. Campbell : I just wanted to note that the topic of Defence support to the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide came up earlier. As a baseline of information, be aware that Defence has thus far responded to 570 notices to give, covering more than 1,600 questions. Of those notices to give, a number also requested the delivery of production of documents. We have produced more than 171,000 documents, which I’m advised span more than three million pages of material. Now, I don’t suggest that is or is not adequate or sufficient, and Defence is utterly committed to supporting the Defence contribution to the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide.





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