22 November 2023
I begin by acknowledging the traditional owners of the land and waters where we meet today, the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, and I pay my respects to their Elders, past, present and emerging.
As the Assistant Minister for Defence, Assistant Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Assistant Minister for the Republic, I also pay my respects to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and women who have served our nation in the past and continue to do so today.
Deputy Chief of Navy, Rear Admiral Jonathan Earley – thank you for welcoming me here today.
Director General Australian Navy Cadets, Commodore David Greaves.
Deputy Head Joint Support Services Division, Air Commodore Grant Pinder.
ANC officers, instructors and cadets.
Ladies and gentlemen.
Firstly, I’d like to thank Captain Troy Duggan and the crew of HMAS Adelaide for their hospitality.
It’s great to be back on board.
Just a few weeks ago, as Sydney hosted naval personnel from around the world for the Indo-Pacific International Maritime Exposition, HMAS Adelaide especially hosted students from around New South Wales – including Navy Cadets - who visited the ship as part of the Navy Life Expo.
When I opened the Expo I noted how HMAS Adelaide was a great place to give young Australians the chance to see the Navy community at work.
And again it’s the right place to launch the Australian Navy Cadets’ redesigned program, the Cadet Youth Development Continuum.
This is the most significant change to the program in the last 20 years.
The Navy Cadets brings young people into the Navy family.
To take part in activities that are fun and challenging.
For friendship, teamwork and leadership.
The Navy is always looking after its people, and today’s launch reflects that.
The maritime environment is the perfect place to challenge yourself.
I grew up surfing at Maroubra Beach and I joined my local surf lifesaving club at the age of 13.
The ocean teaches you about resilience and self-reliance, and surf lifesaving is ultimately about teamwork.
I know these qualities are also central to the Navy Cadets experience.
Training with the Navy Cadets will help you develop your independence, initiative and leadership skills.
And prepare you for the future, wherever your journey might take you.
From today, you’ll see the benefits of the Cadet Youth Development Continuum.
It’s designed to reflect contemporary Australia.
Part of the change is a new focus on health and wellbeing, and personal responsibility.
But the big difference is the focus on cutting-edge technology – including hands-on experience of operating drones and using simulators – with the introduction of the Navy Cadets’ first STEM program.
Showing you how the skills you’re developing with the Cadets can be applied in the future, whatever you decide to do next.
Australia is a world leader in maritime technology.
To give you just a few examples:
Scientists from Defence have tested a drone fitted with a laser that can map the seabed from the sky.
Defence is working with industry to explore the uses for robotic submarines.
And the Navy now has a fleet of five BlueBottle uncrewed surface vessels – tech that was designed and built here in Sydney.
We want to see more innovations like these to help defend Australia’s national interests and protect our marine environment.
And to deliver more high-tech jobs in the defence sector and across the whole of our economy.
The changes I am launching today will help cement the Navy Cadets as a great launch-pad for a STEM career.
There’s something for everyone in the Navy Cadets.
Maybe you enjoy getting out on the water in a sailing boat, or you like building robots.
Or you want to learn more about the Navy, excited by the opportunities operating conventionally-armed, nuclear-powered submarines through our AUKUS partnership will bring.
The Navy Cadet Program is made possible through the hard work and dedication of the officers and instructors who are passionate about youth development.
So, to the leadership of the Navy Cadets, I want to say: we’re grateful that you choose to invest your time and energy to help young people reach their full potential.
This new program will keep on evolving.
And we look to today’s cadets to take the lead.
Whether that’s building up your cyber skills, or gaining a deeper understanding of our precious marine environment =.
Today, we’re building on the Australian Navy Cadets’ long and proud history.
And ensuring that its future remains bright.
I’m delighted to be able to officially launch the Cadet Youth Development Continuum, and I look forward to hearing about your progress as this significant change rolls out across the nation.
And now, it gives me great pleasure to formally present the Cadet Youth Development Continuum documentation, brassard and badges to the National Commander Australian Navy Cadets, Captain Peter Alderson.
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