Defence Minister David Johnston has used NAIDOC Week to formally honour the historical and significant contribution of indigenous personnel serving in the Australian Defence Force.
Speaking during an adjournment speech, Senator Johnston, said he was proud to support NAIDOC Week, an annual event celebrating the rich history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.
“Defence is honoured to have its Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and women acknowledged in the 2014 NAIDOC Week themed, Serving Country: Centenary and Beyond,” Minister Johnston said.
“Historically, indigenous ADF members have served the nation since the Boer War.”
Defence currently employs about 1300 Aboriginal and or Torres Strait Islanders comprising 677 who serve as permanent members of the ADF, 440 Reservists and 191 APS employees.
A range of plans and initiatives are currently in place to “considerably” boost indigenous numbers over the next few years, the Defence Minister said.
Today, in northern Australia, three Regional Force Surveillance Units provide a unique contribution to ADF border security operations. They comprise reservists and regular troops, many drawn from indigenous communities.
Of historical note, following World War II more than 3000 indigenous men and women have served in the defence of Australia, Senator Johnston said.
Mark Dodd (Minister Johnston's Office) 0477 389 560