The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Minister for Defence Personnel, Alan Griffin, has announced that the Defence Indigenous Development Program — Navy and the Defence Reconciliation Action Plan 2010–2014 were officially launched at HMAS Cairns today. Mr Griffin was represented by Queensland Senator Jan McLucas at the ceremony.
Senator McLucas said, “The launch of the Defence Indigenous Development Program – Navy and the Defence Reconciliation Action Plan 2010–2014 coincides with National Reconciliation Week, and is another step forward in Defence’s ongoing contribution to the Australian Government’s ‘Closing the Gap’ initiative”.
Mr Griffin said, “The Defence Indigenous Development Program — Navy is an important initiative that will prepare young Indigenous adults from Far North Queensland with literacy and numeracy training, life skills and the confidence to embark on a career in the Royal Australian Navy”.
Senator McLucas said, “Thirty-four participants, aged between 17 and 25, have today completed a 10-week preparation course at the Djarrugun College Wilderness Centre in Gordonvale. The course was designed to help them achieve at least a ‘C’ grade pass in English, mathematics and science – mandatory requirements for entry into the Australian Defence Force”.
“They will now start the next phase of the program – a five-month live-in course – which will include a navy ‘boot camp’ and induction training, a voyage in STS Young Endeavour from Townsville to Cairns, a sea ride onboard a naval warship from Sydney to Townsville, and attendance at the Tropical North Queensland Institute of TAFE to train in boat handling, first aid, Bronze Medallion (lifesaving) and teamwork,” she said.
Mr Griffin said, “While on the course, the participants will receive Abstudy and are provided with free accommodation, meals and uniforms”.
“Participants will also be provided with advice and guidance on the Navy recruitment process and those who graduate in October will be encouraged to apply for entry into the Australian Defence Force.
“While not all participants will progress onto joining the Navy or the other services, the program will nevertheless equip them with skills and experiences to help them gain employment in the wider community,” Mr Griffin said.
Both Mr Griffin and Senator McLucas wished the participants well for their future endeavours.
The Defence Indigenous Development Program – Navy is a joint initiative between the Department of Defence and the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations. It also forms part of the Australian Defence Force’s Indigenous Employment Strategy.
Mr Griffin said, “The Defence Reconciliation Action Plan 2010–2014 was also launched at today’s ceremony. It was developed following broad consultation across Defence and Reconciliation Australia and provides action plans to implement employment opportunities and retention initiatives for Indigenous Australians who choose Defence as their employer”.
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