Australian Govt Removes Restrictions from ADF Combat Roles

Australian Govt Removes Restrictions from ADF Combat Roles

Current serving female Australian Defence Force (ADF) members now have the opportunity to work in most positions in the ADF provided they have the ability to meet all the demands of the role.

From 1 January 2013, women can apply to become clearance divers, mine warfare and clearance diving officers in Navy; airfield defence guards and ground defence officers in Air Force; and infantry and armoured corps, some artillery roles, explosive ordnance disposal squadrons and combat engineer squadrons in Army.

These roles represent seven per cent of employment categories, or 17 per cent of the total jobs in the ADF.

The change follows the September 2011 announcement by Minister for Defence Stephen Smith and Minister for Defence Science and Personnel Warren Snowdon that the Government had formally agreed to the removal of gender restrictions from ADF combat roles.

 “Ability is the deciding factor concerning the roles in which Australian Defence Force members serve – not gender,” said Major-General (MAJGEN) Gerard Fogarty, Head of People Capability.

MAJGEN Fogarty said the Australian Government’s decision was an extension of the significant progress undertaken by the ADF over the past 20 years in opening categories and employment opportunities to women.

He said women have been deployed on operations for many years. In 2012, on average, 345 women were serving on overseas ADF operations at any given time.

 “At this time, the only category not open to women is Special Forces in Army. This is because Defence is currently working on validating the physical employment standards for these roles,” said MAJGEN Fogarty.

“Special Forces roles will be open to female ADF members next year once this work is done.”

Defence will commence direct recruiting into combat role employment categories towards the end of 2016.

MAJGEN Fogarty said that Defence was treating interest and applications from serving members as business as usual.

 “Each member will be given the same consideration, privacy and opportunity afforded to their male counterparts in previous years to ensure they are able to perform their role to the best of their ability and contribute to the team environment equally, without additional pressures,” said MAJGEN Fogarty.

“Defence has a duty of care to all its members who are currently pursuing these roles to ensure they have an equitable environment in which to succeed outside of the spotlight.”

The processes for applying for and appointment to these roles remain the same; the removal of gender restrictions has not changed the way these processes are carried out.

Naval Today Staff, February 4, 2013; Image: Royal Australian Navy