Defence Minister Linda Reynolds has announced a number of new initiatives to support ADF Reservists grappling with the COVID-19 crisis.
The Morrison government has committed to providing up to 21,000 existing Australian Defence Force Reservists with supplementary employment support by increasing the total allocation of reserve days to 210,000 over the 2021 financial year.
This includes the funding of an additional 25,000 reserve days to help recruit up to 500 new ADF Reservists.
Approximately $60 million will be invested to fund the increase in the total annual reserve days, with a further $7 million to be invested in the recruitment effort.
Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said the recruitment of the additional Reservists would help provide part-time employment opportunities to Australians in urban and regional communities across the country, particularly as they grapple with the economic fallout from the COVID-19 crisis.
“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 for Defence Personnel Darren Chester noted that 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,” Minister 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.”