South Australian state Opposition Leader Steven Marshall has promised to deliver a new program to assist ex-service personnel and veterans transition into new jobs created by the federal government’s $90 billion investment in naval shipbuilding projects.
The proposed Defence Industry Employment Program will recognise and promote the training, skills and experience of South Australia’s ex-service personnel and support and facilitate a pathway to employment within the defence industry.
The program will operate within the Defence Teaming Centre (DTC) and leverage the existing defence industry relationships of the DTC to promote job opportunities within the sector to ex-service personnel.
Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne said the proposed plan will be beneficial to the some 5,200 personnel that leave the Defence Force every year.
"Many people who join the Defence Force join because they want to serve their country. When they leave, they can continue to serve in the workforce behind the Defence Force – Australia’s defence industry," he said.
The federal government is anticipating around 25,000 jobs will be created in South Australia as a result of the major shipbuilding projects in Adelaide.
"Our ambitious shipbuilding plans will require workers of all types – from welders to project managers, electricians to naval architects. Our ex-serving men and women have valuable skills they can bring to bear here, and this policy will help make that a reality," Minister Pyne said.
The state opposition has also said it will support data collection of the number of veterans and ex-service personnel in South Australia who become homeless, experience mental health problems or are in prison and could benefit from greater access to federal and state government support and assistance. The aim of this data collection is to deliver a better understanding of the needs of veterans and enable more efficient services to be delivered to them.
Under the proposed policy, Marshall said if the Liberals are elected in 2018, the government will support the Partners of Veterans Association of Australia so it can continue to provide vital services to partners and families of veterans via small grants.
The opposition has also proposed to re-memorialise Anzac Highway by shifting the memorials to make them more accessible as well as funding grave leases on an ongoing basis for war veterans.