Government’s new defence strategy rings hollow amid lack of action

Senator Mark Wall
26 September 2023
  • Defence forces need action on recruitment and retention, not another report

Labour defence spokesperson Mark Wall has called on the government to take serious action and provide the Defence Forces with adequate resourcing rather than commissioning yet another report into the Forces.

Senator Wall said:

“The Government needs to get serious about addressing the recruitment and retention crisis in the Defence Forces. It is essential that we have a properly resourced and well-trained Defence Forces.

“The Defence Forces need action, not another report. There is a retention and recruitment crisis and the Government is failing to take action. 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.

“The Defence Forces are already struggling to recruit and retain personnel, and the situation is only going to get worse if the Government does not take action to improve pay and conditions.

“Government must also recognise the realities of the modern workplace, and recognise the needs of women, carers, and young men who want flexible and remote working opportunities. It’s time for action and change within the Forces, not reports from outside again.

“The housing crisis has also had a huge impact on retention. Many Defence Forces personnel are struggling to find affordable housing, which is making it difficult for them to remain in the service.

“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.

“The Defence Forces provide a vital service to the State, and it is important that they have the resources they need to do their job properly.”

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