Minister for Defence Science and Personnel, Warren Snowdon, and Vice Chief of Defence Force, Air Marshal Mark Binskin, have released Defence’s implementation plan for the removal of gender restrictions from Australian Defence Force (ADF) combat roles.
The plan details the steps Defence will take to enable women to meet the demands of the role, to pursue careers as Navy Clearance Divers and Mine Clearance Diving Officers; Air Force Airfield Defence Guards and Ground Defence Officers; and Army Infantry, Armoured Corps and some Artillery roles.
Mr Snowdon said the Australian Defence Force relies on every member having the opportunity to contribute fully and equally to Defence operations.
“The removal of gender restrictions will encourage talented, capable people to stay in the ADF longer, the change is likely to contribute towards female ADF members to progress into an increasing number of leadership positions.”
The plan will be implemented over five years to ensure appropriate levels of support are available for all people who choose to pursue a career in combat roles.
The plan factors in lessons learned from past integration initiatives, where Defence opened more categories and positions to women and the shared experiences of other nations, Canada and New Zealand which have lifted gender restrictions.
It considers the physical requirements for each role, along with the broader policy, infrastructure, and cultural issues that Defence needs to address to make this change a reality.
In-service applicants will be entitled to apply for a career in a combat role from January 2013, provided they meet all requirements and subject to course availability and vacancies.
Defence does not expect to commence direct recruitment of women into the opening combat role employment categories until towards the end of the implementation period.
A copy of the implementation plan is available on the Department of Defence internet site http://www.defence.gov.au/women/index.htm
Marcus Butler (Minister Snowdon) 0417 917 796
Defence Media Operations: 02 6127 1999