Reserve and Youth Division – Meeting the Challenges of Supporting the ADF’S Part-time Workforce

Reserve and Youth Division’s Mission / Priorities / Performance Assessment

The Reserve and Youth Division (RYD) is embedded within the VCDF Executive of the Department of Defence. RYD’s mission includes: ‘enhance the capacity of ADF Reservists to contribute to ADF capability’. The Division achieves this mission by acting as an ‘enabler’ – it supports the three Services and Defence People Group, particularly in the development and implementation of policies and practices affecting the part-time members of the ADF workforce. RYD does not ‘own’ Reserve policies, nor does it have executive authority to unilaterally implement or amend policies or protocols relating to Reservists’ conditions of service, employment, salaries etc. Therefore RYD’s staff collaborate with those authorities in Defence that do possess those responsibilities, in an attempt to ensure that the interests of part-time ADF members are considered when there are changes to policies and practices across the ADF workforce.

My priorities, as Head RYD, include: ‘continued delivery of functions in support of ADF Reservists in accordance with assigned targets and budgetary limits’. These functions include: administration of the Defence Reserve Service (Protection) legislation and regulations, governance of the Employer Support Payment Scheme, direct support for Reservists and the Defence Reserves Support Council (DRSC), and policy implementation and engagement with senior Reserve members of other military forces. RYD’s support for the ADF’s part-time workforce is reported and assessed via the following means:

  • Weekly – in my regular report to VCDF;
  • Quarterly – in the Joint Reserves Working Group, and the DRSC Executive; and
  • Biannually – in the Joint Reserves and Cadets Policy Committee (chaired by VCDF), and the DRSC National Council meeting.

Current Issues / Initiatives / Activities

Reserve Service Protection. Amendments to the Defence Reserve Service (Protection) Act 2001 were legislated in November 2017. However staff of RYD’s Office of Reserve Service Protection (ORSP) are continuing work with Defence Legal staff on embedding relevant regulations into the Act. These include: making complaints about contraventions of the Act, and investigating alleged and suspected contraventions of the Act.

ORSP staff are continuing work with the Defence People Group and the Services to improve policies affecting part-time ADF members. The policies that have received attention recently include: Australian Public Service (APS) members within Defence rendering Reserve service whilst on carer’s leave or personal leave from their APS duties; and fatigue management of Reservists transitioning between their civilian and ADF employment.

Employer Support Payments Scheme (ESPS). RYD continues to provide governance, overarching management and dispute resolution for the ESPS. The Services fund ESPS payments; expenditure in FY 2017/18 was $12.7M, including $3.4M for Reserve service in operations.

International Engagement / Liaison

RYD continues to participate in the NATO National Reserve Forces Committee, including active participation in Working Groups and the Staff Officers’ Forum. The NATO Military Committee is currently very interested in understanding, and harnessing, the capabilities (both specialist and supplementary) that are inherent in Reserve forces.

RYD also represents the Australian Department of Defence at the International Conference on Employer Support for Reserves (ICESR). The last meeting was held in October 2017, where RYD staff and the DRSC National Chair (Ms Jane McAloon) delivered papers. The next ICESR will occur in April 2019; with RYD staff representing Defence at that meeting.

Tasman Scheme (ADF Reservists’ secondments with the NZDF). The scheme was expanded this year to include junior officers; it was previously only open to junior NCOs. 14 ADF Reservists are participating in the 2014 program; DRA members have supported RYD staff in selection of suitable participants.

Prince of Wales Awards. This program provides scholarships up to the value of $8,000 for selected ADF Reservists to undertake a wide variety of study to benefit them in their civilian occupations. 13 Reservists have been selected for the 2018 program (8 Army, 3 RAN and 2 RAAF).

ForceNet Update / Statistics. New fields have been embedded in ForceNet to enable ADF Reservists to record their civilian employers’ details. This data will be extracted by RYD staff to enable the DRSC to better target its employer engagement – based on information that verifies which organisations are the largest employers of Reservists. As of mid-August more than 23,000 ADF Reservists (in Service categories 2-5) were registered ForceNet users: Army 14,500; RAN 4,200; and RAAF 4,300.

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