Chapter One > Year in Review > Review by the Secretary and the Chief of the Defence Force > page 4 of 4

Year in Review

Review by the Secretary and the Chief of the Defence Force

Other Management Issues

We made significant progress in reforming the provision of corporate services under the auspices of our Business Improvement Project. Some 20 initiatives were considered: eight have already been endorsed with implementation under way. These include the consolidation of travel, personnel (military and civilian) and accounts-processing services into two regional business centres and two regional accounts processing centres. To be established in Townsville, Newcastle, Edinburgh and Puckapunyal, these centres will provide more efficient corporate services to Defence, at a significantly reduced cost, while creating regional employment opportunities.

We also strengthened the management of our information environment by bringing together the strategy, planning, prioritisation, development, implementation and support elements of Defence's computing and communications capabilities under the Chief Information Officer Group. This allows much closer alignment between these functions and clearer accountability for all aspects of our information capability.

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Supporting Defence People

The contribution of Defence people to capability and performance has been recognised through a number of significant achievements to improve remuneration, safety and staffing levels.

Remuneration and conditions for both ADF members and Defence's Australian Public Service employees were improved through the ADF Workplace Remuneration Arrangement 2004-06 and the Defence Employees Enterprise Agreement 2004-06. Funding has been provided for the provision of quality living-in accommodation for ADF members for the next three to four years, and the Services Workforce Access Program for Partners, launched in October 2003 to assist partners of ADF personnel to gain employment in new localities, has proved successful.

Measures to remedy shortfalls in critical ADF employment categories have been developed and funded for the next three to four years. Funding has also been allocated over the next ten years to implement the Defence Strategic Occupational Health and Safety Plan that aims to develop procedures that will eliminate preventable and work-related injuries.

The passage of legislation in May 2004 allowed the new Rehabilitation and Compensation Scheme to come into effect on 1 July 2004. The new scheme maintains comprehensive benefits for ADF members who are injured or become ill in the course of their service, and meets the needs of dependants of members who die as a result of military service.

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Advice to the Government and the Parliament

Issues related to the handling of detainees in Iraq by Coalition forces exposed shortcomings in information flows within Defence and between the Department and ministers. Our performance on this matter, as we acknowledged, was lacking. We have since reinforced with our people the need to remain sensitive to issues of potential policy interest, and to pay close attention to the standards of accuracy and timeliness in our advice to Government and to Parliament.

Internally, we have re-examined and changed some of our higher Defence arrangements related to issues management, coordination and public affairs. We appointed (in July 2004) a Chief of Staff in the Australian Defence Headquarters. The position provides high-level coordination in our headquarters to ensure that significant issues and trends are identified early and managed professionally, in support of our Ministers, the Parliamentary Secretary, the wider government and the Parliament.

Defence's achievements are impressive and the ADF's operational performance is evidence of that. Defence attracts good people who are passionate about their work. That passion drives our people to persist to overcome the problems we identify, as we identify them. Defence people have again demonstrated the versatility, professionalism and determination that enables the ADF to punch above its weight.

R C Smith AO, PSM
Department of Defence
P J Cosgrove AC, MC
Chief of the Defence Force

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