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People [PDF 127KB]

The quality of our people is the foundation of Defence’s capability, effectiveness and reputation. Defence has an integrated workforce of Australian Defence Force (ADF) and Australian Public Service (APS) personnel who work together to deliver defence capability. The Government will ensure that Defence recruits, develops and retains the highly skilled workforce to deliver the plans in this White Paper.  We will properly care for ADF personnel and their families through leading‐edge health care addressing their mental and physical health needs.


Key People Initiatives

The Government will undertake the largest single rebalance of the Defence workforce in a generation to achieve the capability plans in the White Paper.  We will realign the workforce to meet Australia’s Strategic Defence Objectives and to support the new capabilities to be introduced.

The permanent ADF workforce will grow to around 62,400 over the next decade to 2025‐26. The APS workforce will be rebalanced with approximately 1,200 new positions in areas critical to future capability including intelligence, cyber security and space‐based capabilities. These new positions will be accommodated within an APS workforce of around 18,200 – down from 22,300 in June 2012.

We recognise that many Reservists have critical specialist skills not readily available within the permanent ADF, such as specialist medical skills and technical expertise.  We are committed to maintaining the role of the Reserves in the ADF’s force structure, which will be achieved through a new more flexible contemporary workforce model.  Members will have increased ability to move between the permanent ADF and Reserves in roles suited to their skills and knowledge across the ADF.  This will allow ADF members to achieve their individual circumstances and provide more opportunities for members to contribute to Australia’s security.

We are committed to providing ADF members with leading‐edge health care that addresses their mental and physical health needs.  

  • We will continue to improve use of screening, education and awareness programs to care for and support Defence members seeking help with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as early as possible, and will provide additional resources for more specialist medical mental health care.
  • Access to the Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service has been extended to include current and ex‐serving members who have served on border protection duties, in a disaster zone in Australia or overseas, and for members medically discharged from the ADF.
  • A new $133 million Defence eHealth System has been launched, linking ADF members’ health data from recruitment to discharge, enabling better continuity of health care.
  • A program has been established where the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) will pay for treatment for any ADF member with at least three years continuous full time service who is experiencing diagnosed PTSD, anxiety, depression or alcohol or substance abuse disorder without the need to establish that their mental health condition is related to their service.   
  • A pilot of the Reserve Assistance Program has also been launched and extended providing confidential, cost‐free, professional counselling services to assist Reserve members and immediate families who have mental health issues, regardless of whether they are directly related to military service.  
  • The Transition and Wellbeing Research Program is being conducted to examine the impact of military service on the mental, physical and social health of serving and ex‐serving personnel who have deployed to recent conflicts and their families.
  • Defence will partner with DVA, industry, and other ex‐Service organisations to support those whose lives have been affected by their service to our country to find a new career, ensuring that they are treated with the respect and dignity that their service deserves.   
  • Health services support for ADF deployments and training and exercises, including jointly with United States forces and other partners, will also be enhanced.

We will also ensure that those who serve, or have served our nation, and their families are provided with the best possible support and assistance.

  • We recognise the importance of quality housing for ADF families.  ADF members will continue to receive high standard housing that provides for ADF members and their families.
  • In January 2014, we introduced the National Australian Defence Force Family Health Programme, providing free GP and basic health care to all ADF dependants, and up to $400 a year for health services such as physiotherapy, dentistry and mental health support.  
  • Support will continue to ADF families during postings, relocations, and deployments.
  • We will continue to support the ADF cadet program in partnership with the community.   
  • We have made changes to the indexation of the Defence Forces Retirement Benefits and Defence Force Retirement and Death Benefits superannuation schemes to ensure military pensions keep pace with the cost of living.   
  • We will introduce a contemporary superannuation scheme for new ADF members from July next year. The new arrangements will provide additional flexibility for ADF members.   
  • We will continue to support the activities of ex‐Service organisations that assist current and former ADF members who have served our country.

Defence must be an employer of choice for Australians in order to able to attract, recruit and retain the right people to deliver the capability plans in the 2016 Defence White Paper. The White Paper includes a range of initiatives to ensure that the Defence workforce is in place to deliver the plans in the White Paper. Defence will deliver a 10‐year Strategic Workforce Plan this year that will set out the skills Defence needs and how Defence will attract, retain, and develop its people.