Impact of Government disregard of the Defence Forces coming into focus
Labour defence spokesperson Mark Wall has expressed his concern at the continued recruitment and retention crisis in the Defence Forces.
Senator Wall said:
“It is deeply concerning, but unfortunately not at all surprising, to learn that the number of personnel leaving the Defence Forces last year was more than double the number who joined.
“Rather than addressing clear issues around pay, terms and conditions, and culture in the Forces, Government have kept the Defence Forces at arm’s length, unable or unwilling to grasp the nettle.
“The single biggest threat to the viability of our Defence Forces into the future is this Government’s failure to adequately address pay and conditions for members. This is borne out by the fact that more are leaving than joining the Forces.
“Core pay is a primary cause of the recruitment and retention crisis in the Defence Forces. We know that extra personnel will be vital to safeguard the future of the Forces, but with many currently serving unable to meet bills this year, we are risking losing more and more of skilled personnel to the private sector. The impact of the cost of living crisis on our Defence Forces demands Government attention.
“In addition to the cost of living crisis facing members of the Defence Forces and indeed every household, the housing crisis has had a huge impact on retention within the Defence Forces.
“We need a stronger focus on accommodation for those who enlist and serve. I’ve repeatedly said retention is the most important factor in securing our Defence Forces into the future. Delivering decent housing for serving personnel at our barracks and bases would go a long way to making the Defence Forces a more attractive career path.
“Investment in capital infrastructure such as primary radar, and other equipment is absolutely necessary but if we don’t have the sailors, soldiers and pilots in place then the extra spending won’t deliver the capabilities we need.”