Top 100 CEO Interviews
Issue No. 49 - October/November 2009
Reservists provide essential support
Navy, Army and Air Force Reservists are a vital component of Australia’s Defence Force. Head Cadet, Reserve and Employer Support Division, Major General Greg Melick, is Australia’s most senior Defence Reservist; he oversees the organisation which liaises between Defence, Reservists and their civilian employers.
Why are Defence Reservists an important part of Australia’s military?
Currently there are about 600 Navy, Army and Air Force Reservists deployed on operational service in Australia and overseas. Most have civilian jobs or are in business. They contribute real capability to the Australian Defence Force. Let me give you an example. The ADF contribution to the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands consists overwhelmingly of Army Reserve members, including the Commander of the 150-strong contingent. The current high operational tempo of the ADF could not be maintained if it were not for the efforts and contributions of the Reserve. It has been estimated the Reserve currently contributes about 10% of the ADF capability.
How do you help civilian employers of Reservists when staff members are required for Defence service?
In a number of deliberate ways. The Employer Support Payment Scheme introduced in 2001 can provide them with the Australian average weekly earnings for the period an employee is serving, after a short qualifying period. Medical specialists can receive significantly higher payments. With help from our office, many private and public sector employers have adopted Defence leave policies which enable their employees to take leave for the period of their Reserve service and return to their jobs.
The greatest incentive for Reserve service is service to Australia in uniform. This point should not be underestimated. Many individuals, large and small businesses, government departments, and multinational corporations have made this point.
Do employers have to release their staff for Defence service...