The government is continuing to support Australian Defence Force (ADF) Reservists through the COVID-19 pandemic with new initiatives announced yesterday.
FILE PHOTO (January 2020): Australian Army Reserves Sapper Luke Willsmore from the 5th Engineer Regiment cuts a smouldering tree in an effort to prevent ongoing fires in the Jerangle region, NSW. Photo by Lance Corporal Brodie Cross.
• additional reserve days to provide supplementary employment for up to 21,000 existing Reservists;
• an additional 25,000 reserve days to help recruit up to 500 additional ADF Reservists; and
• an overall increase of up to 210,000 in the total reserve days for this financial year.
Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said the recruitment of additional Reserve members would boost the current ADF Reserve workforce and provide part-time employment opportunities across Australia.
“Over the past 12 months, members of the Reserve have made vital contributions to Defence’s response to the bushfires, and currently in our commitment to the national response to COVID-19,” Minister Reynolds said.
“They are a key source of workforce capacity and specialist skills.
“These initiatives will support Australians who may have lost their primary income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, while also supplementing extant Reserve salary budgets that are being drawn upon to support Federal and State government measures.”
Minister Reynolds said the government would investing $7 million in the recruiting initiative, which would provide Australians in urban and regional areas an employment option.
Meanwhile, $60 million will be invested in increasing the total annual reserve days allocation by up to 210,000 for this financial year.
Minister for Defence Personnel Darren Chester said the additional reserve days would be allocated to personnel who wish to increase their working days.
“Reservists have always stepped up in times of emergency, playing an important role in rebuilding the lives of entire communities – putting their lives and careers on hold to protect tens of thousands of Australians – particularly evident through this year’s bushfire season and the pandemic,” Mr Chester said.
“This initiative will support our dedicated Reservists who have had their civilian employment affected, ensuring they’re able to increase their working days if they wish to.
“The allocation of days per person is likely to vary depending on the skills and competencies of each individual, their personal availability subject to family and other commitments, and the nature of work to be performed.”