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Pathway to Change—taking the next steps


During 2016–17, Defence also completed its third year of collaboration with the Australian Human Rights Commission. This collaboration has included visits by the commission to 18 Defence establishments to examine particular aspects of culture and how effective particular strategies have been, and to provide input into more specific reform initiatives. The findings from these visits informed wider reform efforts and are being implemented by the respective Services, with oversight provided by Defence’s Gender Equality Advisory Board.

Pathway to Change is Defence’s strategic cultural reform program. Launched in March 2012, the program had an initial implementation period of five years. The initial focus of Pathway to Change was cultural reform through implementation of key actions and recommendations. All 175 actions and recommendations have now been completed.

Reflecting on the evolution of Pathway to Change, there are many important initiatives that highlight the positive steps we have made. Significant achievements include establishing the Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response Office; release of the ADF Alcohol Management Strategy and Plan 2014–2017; release of the Defence Family and Domestic Violence Strategy 2017–2022; and the integration of agreed values and behaviours as core foundations of Defence education and training programs.

These achievements indicate the value Defence is placing on the health, welfare and safety of our people and their families, with a clear aim of promoting a more inclusive, respectful and safe working environment, where all of our people can produce their best efforts.

Achieving the overall intent of Pathway to Change is a significant undertaking, and while it is important and timely that we acknowledge the successes to date, there is still more work to be done.

Our decision to engage in a Defence-wide consultation process is an important component of our approach to cultural reform. The recent series of leadershipguided conversations with staff at all levels provided opportunities for our people to provide their input into the important things that shape our culture— who we are, what we stand for, how we work. The conversations were also an opportunity to reflect on how far we have come and identify areas we need to prioritise to ensure our future success.

These conversations informed the next iteration of cultural reform—Pathway to Change: Evolving Defence Culture 2017–2022. A refreshed cultural intent statement will guide Defence through the ongoing journey of cultural reform.

An important focus of cultural reform across Defence will be on leaders being accountable for creating a more positive culture. Pathway to Change: Evolving Defence Culture 2017–2022 will recognise and promote a high-performing and inclusive culture as a key enabler of Defence capability.