Chapter 3 Personnel
The Defence Annual Report 2009-10 shows that during 2009-2010:
n Defence had 77,755
permanent employees comprised of 57,697 permanent ADF members and 20,058 APS
n the number of
Reservists who rendered paid service during 2009-10 increased by 971 to 21,248;
n the total Australian Defence
Force (ADF) workforce was 78,945 which comprised 15,970 Navy members,
45,566 Army members and 17,409 Air Force members.
Women and Indigenous people in the
There continues to be considerable disparities between the proportion of
men and women in the ADF. As at 30 June 2009, 86.5 per cent were men and 13.5
per cent were women. However Defence
. . . there are 399 more women serving now than at the same
time last year. It is now 7,873—13.6 per cent of the workforce. Broken down: in
Navy, it is 18.5 per cent; Army, 9.7 per cent; Air Force, 16.9 per cent. To
clarify why the Army number is lower than the other two, it is the effect of
the restrictions on serving in occupations, which in Army’s case are infantry
and armoured corps and some artillery roles within the combat engineer
One of the issues affecting the retention of women was “the attitude of
the local commander to being open to having flexible working arrangements,
shared working arrangements or part-time arrangements”
but Defence stated that they were:
. . . seeking to make it an issue in the way that the
services evaluate the performance of their emerging leadership. Are you
actually supporting a flexible workplace which is leading to increased
retention of women?
The Committee asked about the numbers of women in senior ranks. Defence replied
As at 1 April 2011, the percentage of women in senior
n ADF senior ranks
(Colonel or higher) 6.7 per cent; and
n Defence APS women in
senior positions (EL2 or higher) 20 per cent.
Since 30 June 2005, the participation of women in senior ADF
ranks is as follows:
(1 March 2011)
Two star 1 1
One star 0 7
Colonel (E) 12 31
The Defence Annual Report does not give information as to the ethnicity
of members of the ADF. Defence provided the following information:
The diversity statistics are:
n Indigenous: ADF 0.8
per cent and APS 0.5 per cent; and
n Non English Speaking
Background: ADF 5.2 per cent and APS 13.3 per cent.
The Committee was particularly interested in seeking out information
about Indigenous recruitment within the ADF. In relation to Indigenous
participation the Chief of the Defence Force told the Committee:
NORFORCE is a very successful demonstration of what we can do
where you have a large Indigenous population around you. We are very proud of
that, but unfortunately, when you look in the wider ADF we are not getting the
sorts of levels of participation that I would really like to see. But again we
are deeply committed to increasing the level of Indigenous participation in the
The CDF went on to explain that Defence do have strategies in place for
increasing Indigenous participation and raised the question as to whether he
might need a reference group as he has with women:
We have a strategy. The secretary and I have a strategy to increase
not just Indigenous participation in the ADF but also in the defence
organisation, and we are very supportive of that. We go along every Indigenous
People’s Day and throw our very strong support behind the strategy we have in
place at the moment. It is a good question. Should we have a reference group?
That is something we will have a look at. The question was whether the ADF
represents the community from whence it came. I think you are right; we are
probably far too more towards the Anglo-Saxon side of the ledger. But again
there are no barriers to anybody coming into the ADF. You will see, if you
visit our people, that we are well represented by all of the ethnic communities
in Australia. It is just that the levels of participation probably do not
reflect the number of those people in our population.
The Committee was interested to hear about recruitment of people from Indigenous
and ethnic backgrounds. Defence told the Committee that they are:
. . . implementing a range of initiatives designed to
attract and retain employees from diverse backgrounds through the Multicultural
Recruitment and Retention Strategy:
(a) Defence Force Recruiting (DFR) is conducting extensive
research into Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) communities with a
view to better understanding the factors that influence people from CALD
backgrounds when making employment decisions. Recruiting activities include:
- Use of the ‘Proud to Belong in the Australian Defence
Force’ banner to promote career opportunities in the ADF to CALD communities.
- Reviewing existing national research on recruitment and
retention of CALD employees.
- All generic DFR advertising (Television, Print, Online and
Radio) must consider ADF workforce diversity and aims to portray diversity
including women, Indigenous and CALD serving members.
- Developing, producing and distributing an ADF Guide for
Parents/Guardians through DFR Centres nationally.
- Continued participation in community engagement programs that
target employee prospects from CALD backgrounds and also targets their
influencers; parents and community leaders.
(b) Fairness and Resolution Branch is developing a range of
products and services to aid increased cultural awareness across Defence and to
facilitate retention of people from CALD backgrounds. These initiatives
- The distribution of an ‘ADF Guide to Religion and Belief’
that aims to inform employees and members of the religious needs of different
- The release of the ‘Diversity in Defence’ guidance document
that draws together many elements of diversity across Defence.
- Conducting further research into the current level of
diversity in the ADF and attitudes towards greater diversity.
ADF Pay Remediation
Media and community scrutiny in recent times have highlighted a range of
issues relating to the delivery of payroll services to members of the ADF.
Defence has acknowledged this, and put in place remediation action to address
process problems and areas of concern in the medium to long term.
On 2 February 2010, Minister for Defence Personnel, Materiel and
Science, the Hon Greg Combet AM MP, announced the “immediate establishment of a
high powered ADF Payroll Remediation Task Force”.
...the function of the Task Force will be to rectify current
deficiencies in the ADF payroll system and to accelerate the introduction of an
improved pay system... The initial steps of the Task Force will include
remediating pay issues that arise for individual ADF members, including the
recent overpayments of the International Campaign Allowance.
The Task Force is co-chaired by the Vice Chief of the Defence Force and
the Deputy Secretary Defence Support. To support the Task Force, a Payroll
Remediation Team (PRT) has been established.
The Committee were eager to find out about the PMKeyS (Defence’s HR data
software) refresh including the CENRESPAY (Defence’s Payroll system)
integration and Defence planning with respect to moving allowances from
approximately $1,000 to a different amount. In relation to the PMKeyS refresh
Defence stated that:
The Technical Refresh project is currently running under
budget and is due for completion in April 2012 as originally proposed. There
has been minimal change to the originally planned scope of work. The only key
milestone change has been the implementation of Reserve payroll (replacing
CENRESPAYII ), originally planned for July 2011, which is now planned for
implementation in October 2011.
In relation to allowances Defence stated that:
The strategic review of allowances is the next tranche of
reform of remuneration for members of the ADF. It follows on from the officer
and other ranks pay structure reforms in 2007-08. The review deals with the
seventeen categories of pay-related allowances that currently fall under the
jurisdiction of the Defence Force Remuneration Tribunal (DFRT). The aim of the
review is to consolidate and simplify the structure and administration of these
allowances and ensure they continue to support the people capability
requirements of the ADF, and enable more cost effective administration of
The review is presently in the analytical phase where various
options for the reform of the allowance structures are being evaluated. It is
anticipated that Defence will make submissions on proposed reforms of the
allowances to the DFRT in late 2011 and in 2012.
The strategic review of ADF pay-related allowances does not
deal with the large range of domestic allowances that underpin the conditions
of service that are provided to members of the ADF, such as leave, travel,
housing, removal and location.
ADF Mental Health Reforms
The Review of Mental Health Care in the ADF and Transition through
Discharge was initiated by the Minister for Defence Science and Personnel,
the Hon Warren Snowdon MP, and the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, the Hon Alan
Griffin MP on 26 May 2008. Professor David Dunt
the author of the report published his findings in January 2009.
Key points from the Dunt Review were:
n There are lots of
good Defence mental health initiatives, but they need to be coordinated better
within a wider strategy.
n Re-organisation of
mental health agencies is required, to remove duplication and gain better
efficiency from available resources.
n In line with wider
society, mental health issues are increasingly prevalent and recognised.
Awareness and acceptance are improving, but there is room for improvement.
n There is a capacity
issue for Defence mental health personnel, with causes including: difficulty of
attracting suitable experts, manning caps, remuneration, and competition with
n Better mental health
training is required for chaplains and unit leaders.
n Defence has
world-leading systems for post-operational psychological support (Return to
Australia Pysch Screen “RtAPS” and Post Operational Psych Screen “POPS”) but
improvements are required.
n Resilience training
for ADF personnel is world class during initial training, but should be a
n Improvements are
required to the ADF’s Medical Employment Classification (MEC) system.
systems need to be enhanced.
n Transition management
needs to be improved, especially for personnel discharging due to mental health
In the Government response to the Dunt Review:
Defence has agreed to 49 of the 52 recommendations and
partially agreed to three recommendations. Funding of $83m has been allocated
over the period 2009 – 2013 for major program of reform that will address the
gaps identified, including providing improved mental health governance and
policy, an enhanced mental health workforce, improved mental health training
for ADF personnel and providers, enhanced prevention strategies including
better research and surveillance, enhanced mental health rehabilitation and
transition services, greater involvement of families in the mental health of
ADF members, and better facilities from which mental health services will be
At the public hearing on 25 March, Defence Personnel were asked about
the implementation of the Dunt Review recommendations thus far:
We have come a long way since Dr Dunt’s review, with an
implementation program under the mental health strategy. It is a four-year
program and has 10 major goals. Many of those subjects that you have just
identified are part and parcel of those goals . . . An enhancement of the
workforce that deals with mental health issues within Defence, improvement in
The Committee asked for further clarification regarding the ‘enhancement
of the workforce’ and did this mean ‘additional staff’.
Defence responded that:
An additional 82 positions were identified to go into the
health workforce. At the moment we have filled 45 of those and 37 are still to
be achieved. 
The Committee enquired as to what initiatives, beyond new staff were
being put in place. Defence responded:
The remaining initiatives would be new policy directives . .
. an improvement into mental health training; strategic alliance with the
Australian and General Practice network; looking at a number of prevention
policies as some tools that start from the recruitment level all the way
through to using those tools to help build up a level of resistance in our
workforce, and particularly those who are deploying into operational theatres;
improvement in collaboration with our Department of Veterans’ Affairs in
research; addressing mental health rehabilitation . . .
Further initiatives would be improvement in transitioning,
perhaps if that is the path that we need to take, and helping someone move more
smoothly to a civilian workforce or employment after their time in the Defence
Force. That would include helping families cope with perhaps the disability in
their family or mental health issues. And looking at improving the facilities,
many of which are based around our facilities within Australia.
The Committee was concerned that it could be perceived as career
limiting and stigmatising to identify as a person having mental health issues.
The Committee asked how the Army is working to overcome that stigma
n keeping the privacy
of the individual paramount;
n acknowledging the need
to have a CO informed; and
n reassuring the ADF
Personnel that identifying mental health related concerns will not in fact be a
career limiting move for them.
Defence replied that:
What we are trying to do is break down the stigma, to have
people talk and reassure our members that if mental health issues surfaced we
will do our best to rehabilitate them and that discharge would be the last
option. A recent initiative has been the development of a DVD on post traumatic
stress, and to have soldiers talking about their experiences.
Defence stated that they aimed to:
. . .as best we can, rehabilitate people back into our
workforce if not to the area that they have directly been employed previously
to perhaps other areas. Our last line of resort we would be looking to go down
the discharge path.
The Committee were interested in the policy concerning rehabilitation
and deployment. Defence replied:
Military personnel who are wounded, injured or ill have
access to high quality medical and specialist treatment and rehabilitation
services. These are provided by Joint Health Command through garrison health
services and programs such as the Australian Defence Force Rehabilitation
The ADFRP aims to support their return to work in current or
different duties or trade or, if this is not possible, they will be
rehabilitated, medically discharged and supported to transition to the civilian
environment. Medical discharge is the last option and, wherever possible, ADF
members who no longer meet health standards for their trade or profession are
offered the option of retraining for another employment category.
The program has contributed to the increase in Defence’s
capability by reducing the number of days lost through injury, as well as
supporting the retention of experience through a reduction in medical
The response provided by the CDF on 25 March 2011 confirms
that Defence is in practice, returning people to deployable status as best as
we can. The policy related to medical employment classification has been
reviewed and was re-released 1 July 2011. The revision has expanded employment
and deployment options as a consequence of the inclusion of additional
sub-classifications. In particular, the introduction of an extended (two year)
rehabilitation classification provides ADF members with a longer period of
recovery and potential for continued service.
To ensure that the support provided to wounded, injured or
ill members continues to meet the needs of the individual, and their families,
and to ensure ease of access, Defence and Veterans’ Affairs has jointly
initiated the Support for Wounded, Injured or Ill Program (SWIIP) that will
develop a whole-of-life framework for the care of injured or ill ADF members
during their service and after transition from the ADF.
The Committee asked whether or not a person diagnosed as having
depression or anxiety who were given medication to help them could be deployed
back into active service. Defence replied that:
It is an area that has been looked at in terms of policy
right at the moment. Essentially the requirement is to make sure that we have a
level of stability for the person in terms of the deployment. We have best
practice guidelines for both the clinicians and also the advice for commanders
to be able to recognise that a person who has been placed on such medications
would have a period that would be acceptable in terms of looking at their
stability, in terms of their condition, and if there is going to be a
deployment we would also be looking at the potential to make sure that
commanders are informed about the needs that might occur on deployment so that,
should further treatment be required, if that was necessary, there would be a
more immediate, appropriate and relevant response. At the moment that policy is
in fact under review. Our intent is to progress along the basis that, where
evidence shows that medication can have a stabilising effect, we would want to
have that demonstrated before commanders are able to make a decision about
The Committee also took an interest in ‘decompression’ issues. Defence
gave the following information:
In relation to decompression, Defence has had quite a robust
program of predeployment and post-deployment debriefings and screenings that
form part of the overall approach to handling the question of decompression.
However, prior to people returning to Australia, there is a program of
decompression that occurs at the moment where they will be screened through a
process that is called the Return to Australia Psychological Screen. That occurs
prior to their returning to Australia. There is also then three to six months
after the return a further post-operational screen. Defence is about to trial
an enhancement of the existing decompression which in fact will include both
some psycho-educational material during that decompression period before they
return to Australia as well as an enhancement around the screening processes
and the reintegration information that is provided. In addition, the trial we
are about to run and evaluate will also be delivered at the same time that in
Australia the families of those people who are returning will be offered the
opportunity to participate in a program that we call Family Smart. That will be
an opportunity for them to receive information about the adjustments that might
occur for them and for the person coming back. That trial will be taking place
in the coming months.
The Committee enquired as to the nature of the immediate debrief
following deployment and then the post-operative analysis, or debriefing which
takes place three to six months later. The Dunt Review suggested that Defence simply
have a group debrief when people first come out and then the second to involve
families. Professor Dunt proposed this approach because there were not enough
trained personnel or resources to do the job properly with the one-on-one. The
Committee was concerned to see if Defence had taken on Professor Dunt’s
recommendations and really looked at the best deployment of resources, and the best
timing, and long-term evaluation of pre and post deployment briefings in terms
what the impacts might be. Defence gave the following reply:
We have taken on the recommendations of Professor Dunt. In
the course of doing the work on the development of the trial on decompression,
we are at the same time reviewing the RTAPS and POPS processes. We are
undertaking a fairly significant study at the moment—one of four studies in
MilHOP, the Military Health Outcomes Program, and in the health and wellbeing
study of that the results of the mental health questionnaires or surveys we are
using will allow us to establish whether we have set the right thresholds in
our screens that we used in the RTAPS and the POPS
process. We will be strengthening the robustness of those screens.
In terms of the capacity to conduct those screens and the
workforce required, part of our review of that is to recognise that, in terms
of the RTAPS process, there is good reason why we continue to have that done at
the moment by the people who are doing it, and that is the psychologists who
are in the theatre of operations. In terms of when it is done in Australia, we
are looking at how that can be done by the new and enhanced workforce that we
have brought on. We have brought on more mental health nurses. We have brought
on more social workers. Our approach will be to have a look at how those POPS
screenings can be conducted by our enhanced workforce rather than just the
psychologists who were doing it before. As a result of reviewing that process,
we are also looking at including some programs that are more structured
programs between that return to Australia and the three and six months mark—so
a coming home readjustment program and the family debriefings that are
occurring—and we will be presenting that as essentially a comprehensive program
of reintegration. We are evaluating those steps as we are progressing with
The Committee acknowledges that the Defence Department and the ADF in
particular, continue to work proactively and sensitively in the area of mental