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                    [post_author] => 670
                    [post_date] => 2017-07-17 22:30:02
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2017-07-17 12:30:02
                    [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_27636" align="alignnone" width="300"] The Rheinmetall Boxer CRV.[/caption]

One of the contenders for a looming $5 billion defence contract will base itself in Queensland if it is successful, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has announced.

Rheinmetall Defence Australia would establish its Australia-New Zealand headquarters and a manufacturing and vehicle maintenance facility in South East Queensland if it wins the upcoming LAND 400 Phase 2 contract to supply Australia’s new armoured vehicles, potentially generating 450 long-term jobs and contributing more than $1 billion to the state’s economy over the next 10 years.

Currently the largest supplier of military vehicles to the Australian Defence Force, Rheinmetall will establish the MILVEHCOE as a sovereign industrial capability for the continuous design, manufacture, export and support for military vehicles, turrets and tactical systems. The MILVEHCOE will also draw on a supply network across Australia to deliver products and services from local industry into Rheinmetall’s global supply chain.

Rheinmetall is delivering more than 2,500 logistics trucks to the Australian Army under the LAND 121 Phase 3B program and is currently bidding for the supply of the armoured combat reconnaissance vehicle under the Commonwealth of Australia’s Land 400 Phase 2 program.

Rheinmetall Defence Australia has selected Queensland as its preferred location to build the ‘military vehicle centre of excellence’ (MILVEHCOE) if it wins the contract to deliver 225 combat reconnaissance vehicles for the Australian Army. 

Around 100 of these vehicles are expected to be located at the Townsville and Enoggera bases.

Defence industries employ approximately 6,500 people across the state and generate more than $4.2 billion in annual revenue.

Most of the new jobs would be expected to be highly skilled, highly paid advanced manufacturing and engineering jobs.

Under the LAND 400 Phase 2 contract, Rheinmetall would need to have its facility completed by mid-2020 to supply the first Boxer CRV by 2022.

Rheinmetall is one of two companies vying for the Department of Defence’s Land 400 Phase 2 contract, which is expected to be announced in the first quarter of next year. The other company is BAE Systems Australia, which has yet to announce where it would manufacture its vehicles if it were to win the Land 400 contract.

An existing network of Queensland-based companies supports many of Rheinmetall’s current projects in Australia and overseas, including Nioa, Penske, Holmwood Highgate, Hilton, Harris Communications, Haulmark, ELBIT and LaserDyne Technologies.

Supashock: from partnership to purchase

In the lead-up to the LAND 400 Phase 2 contract decision, Rheinmetall has purchased one of its suppliers, South Australia-based Supashock.

Supashock creates active suspension for motorsport and automotive applications to improve performance, safety and ride quality. Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles (RMMV) provided funding to Supashock in May 2017 to develop an integrated active suspension system and intelligent load handling system for the Australian and international markets that will substantially increase the capability and safety of RMMV’s military trucks in demanding on and off-road environments.

Through comparative testing, Supashock’s suspension technology has been shown to substantially improve the mobility of Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles (RMMV) trucks, while at the same time enhancing on-road safety and reducing the shock and vibration experienced by the load the truck is carrying.

 
                    [post_title] => Queensland in line for billion-dollar defence contract
                    [post_excerpt] => One of the contenders for a $5bn defence contract has undertaken to base itself in Qld.
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                    [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_23685" align="alignnone" width="300"]ADA Defence Uniforms 2_opt Local manufacturing is a battle. (pic: ADA)[/caption]

 

Border Force has copped plenty of political flak for sourcing its bold new uniform from overseas, but an Australian factory – with a century of history steeped in military tradition – is proving that local manufacturing of workwear is fighting fit and ready for service on the frontline.

The company that still makes the Australian Defence Force’s battle fatigues and protective wear, ADA, says it’s now putting on more staff to cope with a rise in demand. ADA currently employs more than 100 people at its Bendigo factory to turn out in excess of 300, 000 garments a year for the ADF and fire services.

It’s a turnaround that’s been spearheaded by change in sentiment from a growing number of government agencies and industrial companies that increasingly put a premium on the quality, comfort and durability of the garments issued to frontline workers – instead of just chasing down the cheapest possible price.

Australian military uniforms are still the bedrock of ADA, which started out more than a century ago in 1912 as the Commonwealth Government Clothing Factory and later became known as Australian Defence Apparel.

The reality of the military uniform business is that very few armed forces shop overseas for their battle wear; not least because offshored critical supply lines can become more than a little tenuous in times of crisis.

Beneath the Camouflage

Camouflage could be a comfortable niche to for ADA stick to — but what’s set company apart and helped it grow as a local manufacturer is a concerted push to get innovative, high quality products into sectors like emergency services, health, transport and utilities.

[caption id="attachment_23684" align="alignleft" width="242"]ADA Defence Uniforms 1_opt Taking it to the street. (pic: ADA)[/caption]

Matt Graham, ADA’s chief executive, is forthright about Australia needing to retain its capacity to make things.

“ADA has a strong commitment to the long-term sustainability and capability of Australian manufacturing”, Graham says, adding the company has “continued to thrive in Australia’s flagging manufacturing sector because we place emphasis on, ideas, innovation and incorporating new global technologies into our business.”

In terms of clothing research and design, military combat wear remains at the apex of design in terms of using new materials and technology to enhance physical protection, durability and comfort – hardly surprising given that soldiers rely on what they wear to stay alive and provide a fighting advantage.

Those advances in textile technology and design are now flowing down to other services.

“With a 100-year history of creating uniforms designed to keep our armed services safe, we are now also applying our expertise to make work safer for Victoria’s police force, ambulance workers, and utility workers,” Mr Graham said.

The growing public sector client list is impressive. Customers outside Victoria and the ADF include the Queensland Fire and Rescue, Service Tasmanian Police and New South Wales Health, the latter of which tapped ADA for a “completely new uniform wardrobe, with rollout across the state and full end-to-end inventory and supply chain management” to outfit 80,000 uniformed staff.

Toll Holdings, which employs around 40,000 people globally across 50 countries has also signed on as a customer, as has Queensland’s state owned utility Ergon Energy that has around 5000 staff.

What appears to be getting that calibre of deal over the line is a local commitment to deliver uniforms to customers as a fully integrated service – starting with research, innovation and rapid product development down to online ordering, warehousing and logistics to relieve clients of the burden of running their own uniform stores.

Another driving force is a wider recognition that apart from needing to be functional and fit for purpose, uniforms also strongly influence public perceptions because design quality often makes the difference between personnel looking highly professional and authoritative to cheap and tardy.

And with exploitative offshore textile and garment manufacturing now a prime target for activists and regulators looking to crack down on suspect supply chains, ADA is more than happy to parade its sourcing credentials that it says spans ethical suppliers across the US, Canada, Germany, China, Indonesia and Tunisia.

Helping Hand

There’s an equally strong a strong commitment to corporate social responsibility at home in Australia, especially as uniform Australian Defence Force Personnel return home from combat zones in the Middle East.

[caption id="attachment_23686" align="alignleft" width="287"]ADA tags_opt What's on the label counts. (pic: ADA)[/caption]

As the company that supplies soldiers with the uniform that they serve in, ADA has partnered with defence mental and physical support not-for-profit, Soldier On, to provide prominent contact details of the organisation on the ‘swing-tags’ (like shop price tags) that ship with every uniform.

“ADF personnel will now learn about the free, tailored mental health services available to them, right from the first time they pull on their army gear,” ADA CEO, Matt Graham said.

With the tags shipping with on more than 500,000 Australian Defence Force (ADF) uniforms, it’s a big direct marketing push that gets a positive message across to troops earlier rather than later.

“These tags are one way the ADF is saying it’s OK for soldiers to ask for help,” Mr Graham said.

“It also shows the ADF is responding to the prevalence of mental illnesses among its personnel, and that there are services nationwide, provided by Soldier On, to help those suffering,” he said.

ADA estimates it will produce more than 40,000 army garments a month that will featuring the Soldier On tag.

Soldier On chief executive, John Bale, says that the uniform swing tags featuring the organisation’s contact details are essential to spreading the word about the free mental health services and programs they offer.

“Those seeing the tags are likely to know someone who might need assistance, or might need help themselves, and will now have a better idea of how to find it,” Mr Bale said.

“These types of activities have been proven to improve the rehabilitation of those affected by their service, and are the first step towards improving the support offered to our veterans and their families,” Mr Bale said.
                    [post_title] => Wear this with Pride – Aussie uniform factory transforms public services, local manufacturing
                    [post_excerpt] => Innovation woven in.
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                    [post_date] => 2015-04-16 20:29:58
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                    [post_content] => 000-165-946_0034 Aces North

 

Civilian staff at the massive Department of Defence have voted overwhelmingly to take industrial action over deadlocked enterprise bargaining negotiations.

In another major headache for the Abbott government’s ‘get tough’ industrial relations regime for the Australian Public Service, a protected action ballot of Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) members at Defence has returned a thumping vote of 93 per cent in favour of instituting work bans and stoppages.

The big vote of no confidence in the government’s present low-ball offer to thousands of staff at Russell and defence offices around the nation comes as Australia once again prepares to increase its operational activities in the Middle East.

Defence is one of the most symbolically important departments in the escalating row over the next public service agreement on pay and conditions which has already burned for a year, not least because of the inherent political pitfalls that would flow from the Abbot government criticising the very it has staff charged with safeguarding and supporting Australian troops on operations.

As one of the most individually powerful departments in Canberra, Defence’s senior management also has more practical latitude to push back and temper some of the government’s more boisterous attempts at cost cutting, such as the institution of pay parking in and around Defence headquarters.

That $12-a-day raid on the wallets of staff at Canberra headquarters was so bitterly opposed by workers at Russell that it was effectively thrown back to its originators when Defence Department agreed to foot the bill the so-called ‘go-to-work’ tax imposed on its staff.

The Community and Public Sector Union on Thursday wasted little time highlighting Defence leadership ambivalence over the way parts of the government’s hard industrial line is being run.

“[Uniformed Australian Defence Force] personnel and their civilian colleagues work side by side in workplaces across Australia and are united against cuts to working conditions. The Defence Secretary himself has warned against creating a gap between the pay for civilian and uniformed personnel,” said CPSU National Secretary Nadine Flood.

Uniformed personnel, who have no industrial or bargaining rights, had been offered a similarly low ball pay and conditions deal that stripped out some leave days, but furore amongst defence support groups, within defence families and in the Senate ultimately prompted a backflip by the Prime Minister himself.

Ms Flood said the deal for uniformed personnel was “far from generous but it’s a mile ahead of the attack on the rights and real wages on offer for civilian staff.

“Defence staff will not tolerate a cut in conditions, the loss of two days leave, plus working an extra 3.5 days a year in return for a wage cut,” she said.

Like other agencies, Defence staff have little to lose by holding out for a better pay deal and taking industrial action because most of the government’s 16,500 job cuts will come before any agreement is ultimately reached, thereby removing any tangible threat of jobs being lost unless there is a compromise in pay.

“Defence workers don’t take industrial action lightly but they have been pushed to this point by a belligerent government that has cut 11,000 APS jobs - including thousands in Defence - and is now intent on attacking workplace rights and conditions.”

The CPSU said industrial action would encompass “a range of work bans, the reading of statements to the public and contractors as well as stoppages of up to 24 hours” and flagged it expected action to start commence in May.
                    [post_title] => Defence bunkers for industrial strife after 93% strike vote
                    [post_excerpt] => Abbott and Abetz face deep resistance at Russell.
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                    [post_date] => 2015-03-05 23:40:56
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2015-03-05 12:40:56
                    [post_content] => Reserve Bank of Australia in a reflective moment

ANALYSIS

A funny thing happened on the way to Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Senator Eric Abetz’s brawl with the federal bureaucracy over pay.

Or not funny at all if you’re a public servant, or a member of the military, hoping for a real pay rise.

Stalling growth in prices and a stubbornly sluggish economy have handed the Coalition a numerical gift in the public service ‘pay rise’ debate, a figure which was exploited to its full potential on Wednesday.

As Tony Abbott performed another conspicuous backflip of ‘good government’ and boosted the pay deal to uniformed Australian Defence Force personnel from 1.5 per cent to 2.0 per cent a year, what had been a below inflation cut in real terms became an above inflation rise.

That’s the difference just six months can make to the Consumer Price Index (CPI), the measure of growth by which unions and bosses used to try and calculate claims and deals on remuneration.

In June 2014 the CPI stood at 3 per cent. By December it hit just 1.7 per cent, off by almost half.

Most wage negotiations are based on an assumption of inflation going up, but as Reserve Bank of Australia Deputy Governor Philip Lowe pointed out to the Goldman Sachs Annual Global Macro Economic Conference in Sydney on Thursday “looking around the world it seems probable that both workers and firms perceive that their pricing power has declined.”

Australia’s annual inflation rate now sitting at just 1.7 per cent is the almost magic number that has allowed Abbott to claim the ‘above inflation’ high ground when the ADF pay offer was expediently upped to 2.0 per cent.

Even so, the political and polling blood loss the 1.5 per cent offer must have been causing is underscored by the fact that ADF personnel effectively have no right to industrial action or negotiation other than the ballot box.

The wider public service and the Community and Public Sector Union can hold out for around 4 per cent, which is unlikely to materialise, even if hard fought conditions and entitlements are traded away -- which they won’t be.

Where there seems to be room to move, as Abbott rather desperately  demonstrated through the ADF deal, is on the headline number that pegs remuneration to price increases and the wider economy and the factors that have combined to keep inflation low, including interest rates.

Deputy Governor Lowe’s observations included a quite telling assessment that even when interest rates have been pruned, consumer spending previously triggered by interest rate cuts is now being absorbed by a desire to pay down debt -- even when interest rates are historically low and money is very cheap to borrow.

So cheap that some banks overseas are actually charging depositors fees rather than paying them interest.

Public sector employees in Australia used to have what was regarded as more secure jobs than their peers in the private sector, but the sheer volume of retrenchments across state governments and the federal sector have been the biggest in almost two decades have pretty well eliminated that.

For many households it becomes a matter of keeping a regular and predictable income coming in, riding out the storm, not taking on risk and eliminating exposure. Just play it safe.

In this regard, no matter how Abbot and Abetz seek to negatively paint public servants, they are no different to the rest of Australia; whether they work for a local council or in central federal agencies.

People are worried.

Moreover, the sheer scale and rapid pace of Queensland’s public service reductions -- and the effect they had on sentiment and service delivery -- were abundantly evident by the dispatch of the Newman government after a single term despite one of the biggest first term majorities in Australian electoral history.

Not just worried, pissed off too.

Again, Deputy Governor Lowe summed up the dilemma and the mood well.

“The current environment is one in which there has been a very large monetary stimulus, interest rates are very low and inflation is subdued. This is not exactly what the traditional textbooks would have predicted,” he said.

And then there’s this:

“The experience of the financial crisis has left deep scars in many economies, including a heightened sense of job insecurity. This insecurity has been compounded by the increased competition that globalisation has brought as well as by changes in technology. It has led to many workers in advanced economies feeling less inclined to seek the wage increases that they might once have sought – they feel that they have less market power and that keeping a job is more important than seeking a large pay increase.

“A similar dynamic is probably playing out in the pricing decisions of many businesses. Globalisation has brought new competition in many markets for goods and services and the financial crisis increased business uncertainty. In this environment, putting up prices can seem to be a more risky proposition than it did previously,” Deputy Governor Lowe said.

A big part of the problem the Abbott government faces with the public service, all its glaring public policy problems aside, is that it is running a very old school textbook industrial negotiation at a time when even the nation’s own central bank concedes traditional thinking is not working.

Chief among obstacles is its absurdly strict and incongruous attempt to define productivity in bargaining negotiations as a decrease in labour costs as opposed to output.

Senior and middle level public servants Government News has spoken to indicated two per cent was where they expected progress in talks between the government and unions to be made.

Most said it boiled down to whether the government wanted to do a deal or start a fight… and that a fight was what they were expecting – leadership change notwithstanding --even if it was over just two per cent a year.

One APS source put it this way: “When petrol goes up, and it will, everything changes.”

Maybe the PM too.
                    [post_title] => Is 2% as good as it gets for APS bargaining?
                    [post_excerpt] => Falling inflation subdues wage growth.
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                    [post_date] => 2015-03-04 13:42:20
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2015-03-04 02:42:20
                    [post_content] => OPERATION SLIPPER -  CTU

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has moved to defuse the growing unrest and electoral backlash over his government’s low-ball pay offer to Australian Defence Force personnel, bowling up a full two per cent increase that he says will take effect from the next payday.

The pay increase for uniformed members of two percent ups the government’s previous deal of 1.5 per cent that infuriated back benchers and acted as a catalyst for Tasmanian Senator Jacqui Lambie to quit the Palmer United Party and mount a personal blockade of legislation in the Upper House until the issue was resolved.

“The Australian Government understands that the work performed by members of the Australian Defence Force is unique and crucial to our nation and our security,” Mr Abbott said in a joint announcement with Defence Minister Kevin Andrews.

“In recognition of these unique circumstances, the Government has decided to increase the wage offer for ADF personnel to two per cent per annum, over the life of the agreement.”

The high profile backflip comes as the Community and Public Sector Union this week sought permission from the Industrial Relations Commission on behalf of around 20,000 civilian staff at the massive Department of Defence to hold a strike ballot to legally clear the way for industrial action at Russell and around Australia.

However unlike civilian staff, uniformed ADF personnel have no right of bargaining or industrial action and are essentially at the mercy of the Defence Remuneration Tribunal which effectively has its direction set by the government of the day.

Mr Abbott said the government will now ask the Chief of the Defence Force and the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service to seek the Defence Force Remuneration Tribunal’s agreement to vary the terms of the current Workplace Remuneration Agreement.

The government’s previous pay deal of 1.5 per cent caused deep anger within the wider Defence community last year because, apart from being so low to be almost nominal, the number sat well below the November 2014 inflation rate of 2.7 per cent.

Since then the inflation rate has now dropped to an uncharacteristically low 1.7 per cent, handing the government the opportunity to claim that its new deal now trumps the rate of price rises in the Consumer Price Index on which the inflation rate is based.

“This keeps ADF pay above the current annual inflation rate of 1.7 per cent,” the Prime Minister said.

However inflation is now so subdued it sits below the Reserve Bank of Australia’s target band of between two to three per cent, a firm indication that economic growth remains similarly sluggish.

When inflation goes up, which it will, the ADF pay deal will look less appealing than it does now.

Nation Secretary of the CPSU, Nadine Flood described the government’s increase as “a significant move” but cautioned it only came because the Prime Minister was “under fire for his attacks on the real wages, rights and conditions of ADF personnel.”

“Offering our ADF 2 per cent  with no cuts to conditions isn't exactly generous, but it is a mile ahead of the attack on rights and real wages on offer from this Government to public sector workers,” Ms Flood said.

The union immediately seized on the ADF’s increase as a justification for civilian public servants to be able to extract a similar deal.

“If the Government can move for our ADF personnel, why don't Defence civilians and the public sector workers who protect our borders in Customs, Immigration and Quarantine deserve more than a vicious attack on their rights and conditions?” Ms Flood said.

“Why don't the people on average wages in Centrelink and Medicare deserve some recognition for the tough job they do for our community?”

Mr Abbott said the advocacy of Senator Linda Reynolds and MP Mr Andrew Nikolic, both former senior ADF personnel, had "been central" to the latest deal.
                    [post_title] => Abbott pushes Defence pay deal to 2.0%
                    [post_excerpt] => Uniformed wage offer limps over low inflation rate.
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                    [post_content] => OP SLIPPER - MTF-1

The Abbott government is facing a new attack in Parliament over its controversial sub-inflation pay deal for Defence Force personnel after Palmer United Party (PUP) Senator Jacqui Lambie exploded on morning radio to declare that she will now personally vote against all legislation put up by the government until a better deal is offered.

In an extraordinary interview with Fran Kelly on ABC’s Radio National on Friday morning, Senator Lambie said she would unilaterally vote against the government on all legislation as a matter of conscience over Defence pay.

“Ordinarily I would never use one bad government decision as a reason to block a number of pieces of unrelated legislation   which is what is going to happen,” Senator Lambie said.

“However I just believe that this decision by the Abbott government to effectively strip money and holiday entitlements from all members of the ADF is extraordinary in its timing and arrogance and level of political cruelty.”

The one woman stand may not have much material effect on laws passing without the rest of her party’s support. Even so, it has laid bare Senator Lambie’s intention to punch on over the issue that has especially strong resonance in the wider community and with Defence families.

The controversial Defence pay deal of a rise of just 1.5 per cent per annum over three years was rubber stamped by the military’s own Remuneration Tribunal this week. It is not the subject of legislation.

Clive Palmer has himself previously called for the pay offer to be at least 2.5 per cent and Labor leader Bill Shorten has written to the Prime Minister urging him to come up with a better deal.

Herself a military veteran, Senator Lambie has long crusaded for a better deal for both veterans and serving Defence personnel, especially support services.

However her unilateral stand now looks to have created another public rift between PUP leader Clive Palmer and potentially other Senator’s after Senator Lambie castigated Mr Palmer for not publicly backing her extraordinary position.

“It’s getting to the point where I just don’t care what Clive Plamer’s position is on this at the moment. But if he had a conscience then he’d stand right beside me and our troops and our veterans and make a stance on this now,” Senator Lambie said.

Asked what Mr Palmer said when Senator Lambie told him her position, Senator Labie said “Not a lot, just sort heard me out and that was it” before very publicly hopping into her leader.

“Clive Palmer can no longer sit on the fence; he’s either standing by me or he’s standing near the Liberal National Party. I’m not going to stand around and watch Clive Palmer backflipping all over the place,” Senator Lambie said.

“I am going to continue to fight like hell.”

Despite some collateral damage on the crossbenches, most of Senator Lambie’s fire is being aimed squarely at Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

“The buck stops with the PM, if the PM wanted to pick up that pen and change it, that’s as simple as that,” Senator Lambie said before making the extraordinary claim that Defence itself was not backing the government on the pay deal.

“Defence are now are moving outside of the circle and actually going to journalists,” Senator Lambie said. “This is extraordinary that they are going outside of orders. That’s telling Tony Abbott that enough is enough.”
                    [post_title] => Lambie lobs legislative grenade into Defence pay row
                    [post_excerpt] => Threat to block all government legislation.
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                    [post_content] => TANDEM THRUST 2001

Two key organisations representing the interests of personnel in the Australian Defence Force have flatly accused the Abbott government of foisting a pay cut in real terms onto those serving in the military after the Defence Remuneration Tribunal (DFRT) pushed through a deeply unpopular below inflation wages deal.

The Defence Force Welfare Association (DFWA) and the Alliance of Defence Service Organisations (ADSO) have both condemned what they say is a “lowly annual pay increase of 1.5 per cent” a year over the next three years that they say “is barely half the expected annual inflation rate.”

Defence and the Abbott government on Monday confirmed the contentious low ball pay deal – which ADF members have no choice other than to accept – had been pushed through by the DFRT despite calls by representative groups and the Opposition for Mr Abbott to personally intervene.

“A ‘better pay deal’ means at least matching the movement of the ‘Employee Living Cost Index’, not just inflation, the DFWA said in a tersely worded public statement.

“It means maintaining the real purchasing power of ADF wages. Anything less represents a pay cut which ADF members should not be expected to accept. Nor should they be expected to accept having to actually pay for the lowly offer by so-to-speak 'productivity initiatives’ which include removing some previously approved leave provisions and the downgrading of several other conditions of service.”

“It is a strange way to reward ADF members for their dedication and hard work especially as the Government has just dispatched a new contingent to the ongoing Middle East conflicts,” said DFWA National President, David Jamison.

The sharp criticism of the government by groups representing the interests of ADF members has underscored what appears to be a growing unease in normally conservative and taciturn military circles about the wisdom of pushing a remuneration crackdown when Australia’s military is upping its tempo in the Middle East.

A real prospect that the military’s top brass face is that the calibre of future recruits could suffer because the military’s established reputation for offering decent ongoing remuneration linked to the cost of living for personnel may be damaged.

The worry is that in the event the quality of candidates goes down, extra costs associated with training, management and productivity could occur.

Opposition leader Bill Shorten and Defence Shadow Senator Stephen Conroy were quick to round on the government’s military pay deal and slammed it as a “disgraceful decision to cut the real pay and conditions.”

“Tony Abbott should hang his head in shame at cutting the real wages of our ADF personnel and cutting their Christmas and Recreational Leave compensation leave,” Mr Shorten said.

“It is inexplicable that this government can send our service men and women into harm’s way, and at the same time force the ADF to take a real pay cut.”
                    [post_title] => Fury over sub-inflation Defence pay deal approval
                    [post_excerpt] => Abbott takes fire for not standing-up for diggers.
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                    [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_16620" align="alignnone" width="614"]Back Off Beware of blowback ... Defence's wage offer is generating plenty of heat.[/caption]

 

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has been forcibly dragged into the escalating row over federal public service pay and conditions after Opposition Leader Bill Shorten fired off an angry letter strongly urging him to pull the current below-inflation offer to Defence personnel amid armed forces again being deployed to conflict zones in the Middle East.

The government is offering Defence staff a total 4.5 per cent pay increase over three years (or 1.5 per a year) coupled with reductions to leave entitlements and higher duties allowances as part of a proposed Workplace Remuneration Agreement that is due to be put to the to the Defence Force Remuneration Tribunal on Wednesday.

The Opposition has seized on the low-ball offer as doling out a pay-cut to serving personnel just as military is again returning to combat activities.

“The Commonwealth’s position would see real wages in the ADF [Australian Defence Force] fall, as well as a reduction in in leave entitlements, including Christmas leave,” Mr Shorten said in the letter to the PM.

“I urge you to reconsider this wage offer to ensure a fair and equitable deal for our ADF personnel, especially at a time when so many are deployed away from their families … The very least the Commonwealth can do is accord them pay and conditions that properly recognise their service and sacrifice.”

Labor’s Defence spokesman Senator Stephen Conroy was more direct.

“Tony Abbott promised no surprises, and now he wants to cut the wages of our Defence personnel. I mean, it's quite extraordinary: no surprises, send the troops to war and then suddenly cut their pay,” Senator Conroy told the ABC.

“You've seen the level of outrage in just a few days from the Defence forces themselves. The Defence forces are up in arms, but they don't have any other capacity than to talk to their welfare association and to make some public commentary.”

Unlike other public servants, defence and military personnel are unable to vote on or take industrial action as part of wage negotiations because of their role safeguarding the nation’s security.

However the military’s various staff and welfare associations are well versed in running highly visible and effective campaigns on public policy issues affecting their members.
Advocacy groups were well-prepared for the low-ball offer after a draft version of the agreement previously leaked out of the Department of Defence causing substantial embarrassment for Defence Minister David Johnston.

A big problem for the government in pushing its below inflation offer to Defence staff is that it risks being viewed by the public as a separate and distinct issue from wider Public Service bargaining   where bureaucrats are routinely portrayed as having safe, well paid and comfortable jobs.

The Defence Force Welfare Association (DFWA) has been canvassing members on the pay offer and says that around 90 per cent of 8000 serving members polled were unhappy with the deal.

Speaking on the ABC’s AM program on Tuesday, DWA National President David Jamison sharply criticised to pay offer as an unfair deal that came on top of changes to the indexation of disability pensions for veterans contained in the May Budget.

“To achieve this reduction in pay, they're [Defence members] asked to give up six days' leave a year, also face lower mileage rates in their move from one posting to another and have to drive, and the married members who are unaccompanied - in other words being posted remote from their families - will lose an allowance to allow them to buy food whilst they're living singly away from base,” Mr Jamison said.

Under the deal put to Defence staff, the waiting time for higher duties pay to kick-in will be doubled from 5 day to 10 days, while mileage rates for driving and food allowances will also be cut.

The new agreement also suggests sizeable increases in the allowable daily driving limit for personnel, pushing up mileage from 480km a day to 600km a day without a trailer and 360km to 500km with a trailer.

In a statement to all Defence staff outlining the Commonwealth’s pay offer, the Chief of the Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin tellingly conceded that he didn’t expect to offer to be a popular one.

“I know that some of you will believe this increase does not properly acknowledge the job you do,” the Defence Chief said.

“I am of the view given the circumstances, this is a fair and reasonable offer and is as good an outcome as I can negotiate in the current climate.”

Whether pressure on the Prime Minister will result in climate change is now the question.
                    [post_title] => Abbott in firefight over Defence wage deal
                    [post_excerpt] => Staff advocates and Opposition attack below inflation offer.
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                    [post_content] => a hard-earned thirst needs a big cold beer

A free smartphone app designed to help current and ex-Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel and veterans manage their drinking has been updated with new features, including being able to email an individual’s drinking history to a doctor or to themselves.

ON TRACK with The Right Mix, (iTunes download ; Android download) which was originally launched in March 2013 and can also be used by civilians, allows people to chart their drinking history and spending over the bar across time to reveal the short and long-term impact that a few too many can have on your life and fitness.

The update comes as thousands of battle-hardened Australian troops previously on deployment in Afghanistan return home following the wind-down of operations and re-enter civilian life.

A real concern for both the military and health practitioners is effectively managing the effects of post-traumatic-stress-disorder that has previously been linked to harmful self-medication using substances lime alcohol.

A key feature of the alcohol app is its ability to create highly personalised well-being scores that takes into account crucial factors like gender, age, height and weight.

For present and retired personnel, that means a private and discrete heads-up about how drinking behaviour, moderate or otherwise, translates to health and financial outcomes before the consequences become more difficult to manage.

For those prepared to sweat-out the liquid calories the next day, the app shows how much exercise you need to do to burn-off the booze. It can also alert you when you’ve reached your budget when sinking a few off-base.

Among the new the new exercise options integrated into the phone app are golf, chin-ups, sit-ups, push-ups, running and swimming.

There’s also a graph that tracks your drinking, spending and wellbeing to help individuals better understand their drinking patterns, while a ‘recent drinks’ option on the tracking screen lets those imbibing quickly choose from their last five drinks.

In the event you let things slide and forget to add drinks to your phone on-the-go, it’s is now possible to retrospectively add drinks to past sessions or even add a new session to your drinking history.

The issue of managing a culture of recreational drinking has long been a challenge for the ADF and has, over the last few years been brought into sharper focus by top brass because of its unwanted contribution to a string of serious incidents that have landed personnel in court or on disciplinary charges.

Two of the most serious scandals have been the 2011 ‘Skype’ sex incident at the elite Australian Defence Force Academy and multiple reports of drunkenness, nudity and sexual harassment on board the HMAS Success’ tour through Asia in 2009.

The ON TRACK with The Right Mix was developed in the wake of the 2011 independent report The Use of Alcohol in the Australian Defence Force which found that 26.4 per cent of ADF members reported drinking alcohol at hazardous or harmful levels, and particularly lower-ranked men under 25.

The same report also found that Navy personnel were more than three times more likely to have an alcohol disorder than Air Force personnel, while Army personnel were had double the chance of Air Force personnel of developing an alcohol disorder.

The report said: “Alcohol use is common among ADF personnel and while many drink in moderation, there is also a high prevalence of drinking at hazardous levels, at least on some occasions.”

It also noted that this situation had existed for “a considerable time” and documented the ramifications of binge drinking, including reduced unit and service performance and, “collateral damage to the public image and reputation of the services, both within Australia and internationally.”
                    [post_title] => Shout out to diggers through fortified alcohol management app
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                    [post_content] => 

Julian Bajkowski

A resurgence of popular interest in Australia’s military history and especially the tragic icon of the Gallipoli campaign may bring thousands of war veterans and young patriots to Turkey each year, but there’s a catch.

Such is the mass popularity of the pilgrimage that the government has been forced to call for commercial service providers to manage ballot and ticketing services for the event as it seeks to keep what the sombre memorial event dignified.

The Department of Veteran’s Affairs this week issued a formal request for tender for the provision of the ballot and ticketing, a clear sign of the pressure that the growing popularity of the Gallipoli commemoration event is bringing.

The documents state that services are to be ready commence in 2015.

Ballots are a mechanism commonly used by sports, event and festival promoters as a way of more fairly distributing tickets and passes when demand far outstrips supply.

The ballot mechanism – essentially where names are drawn out of a hat   is also a useful safeguard against scalpers who ruthlessly exploit the strong demand for tickets to events and grossly inflate the price of tickets they resell.

One issue that requires careful and sensitive management issue is ensuring that veterans and their relatives can still gain access the Gallipoli event when attendance numbers have to be limited.

A big logistical challenge for those tasked with running the Gallipoli ANZAC day event is that they have to manage issues across not only Australia but also New Zealand and Turkey.

The DVA tender has specifically asks to see “options for, and development and supply of, tickets with in-built security mechanisms to prevent replication or scalping, and can be verified for authenticity at the entry point, including, but not limited to mobile ticket delivery, hard, plastic or souvenir tickets.”

The veteran’s department also wants to see “state of the art ticketing and entry/access control systems and equipment that are currently available and can be utilised by the agent in Turkey, in an outdoor environment, that will complement or be additional to existing entrance and security infrastructure supplied by the Anzac Day services provider.

A key question prospective suppliers will need to answer is whether an existing system can be adapted and the capacity of a system to cope with high volumes of individual registrations online.

There is also a requirement to state how the “security and storage of data and personal details of ballot registrants, including compliance with applicable legislation” will be handled by bidders.

The tender closes on 3rd July 2013
 

[post_title] => Gallipoli ANZAC Day ballot put up for grabs [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => gallipoli-anzac-day-ballot-put-up-for-grabs [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2014-02-11 13:11:55 [post_modified_gmt] => 2014-02-11 02:11:55 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) ) [post_count] => 10 [current_post] => -1 [in_the_loop] => [post] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27635 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-07-17 22:30:02 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-07-17 12:30:02 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_27636" align="alignnone" width="300"] The Rheinmetall Boxer CRV.[/caption] One of the contenders for a looming $5 billion defence contract will base itself in Queensland if it is successful, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has announced. Rheinmetall Defence Australia would establish its Australia-New Zealand headquarters and a manufacturing and vehicle maintenance facility in South East Queensland if it wins the upcoming LAND 400 Phase 2 contract to supply Australia’s new armoured vehicles, potentially generating 450 long-term jobs and contributing more than $1 billion to the state’s economy over the next 10 years. Currently the largest supplier of military vehicles to the Australian Defence Force, Rheinmetall will establish the MILVEHCOE as a sovereign industrial capability for the continuous design, manufacture, export and support for military vehicles, turrets and tactical systems. The MILVEHCOE will also draw on a supply network across Australia to deliver products and services from local industry into Rheinmetall’s global supply chain. Rheinmetall is delivering more than 2,500 logistics trucks to the Australian Army under the LAND 121 Phase 3B program and is currently bidding for the supply of the armoured combat reconnaissance vehicle under the Commonwealth of Australia’s Land 400 Phase 2 program. Rheinmetall Defence Australia has selected Queensland as its preferred location to build the ‘military vehicle centre of excellence’ (MILVEHCOE) if it wins the contract to deliver 225 combat reconnaissance vehicles for the Australian Army.  Around 100 of these vehicles are expected to be located at the Townsville and Enoggera bases. Defence industries employ approximately 6,500 people across the state and generate more than $4.2 billion in annual revenue. Most of the new jobs would be expected to be highly skilled, highly paid advanced manufacturing and engineering jobs. Under the LAND 400 Phase 2 contract, Rheinmetall would need to have its facility completed by mid-2020 to supply the first Boxer CRV by 2022. Rheinmetall is one of two companies vying for the Department of Defence’s Land 400 Phase 2 contract, which is expected to be announced in the first quarter of next year. The other company is BAE Systems Australia, which has yet to announce where it would manufacture its vehicles if it were to win the Land 400 contract. An existing network of Queensland-based companies supports many of Rheinmetall’s current projects in Australia and overseas, including Nioa, Penske, Holmwood Highgate, Hilton, Harris Communications, Haulmark, ELBIT and LaserDyne Technologies. Supashock: from partnership to purchase In the lead-up to the LAND 400 Phase 2 contract decision, Rheinmetall has purchased one of its suppliers, South Australia-based Supashock. Supashock creates active suspension for motorsport and automotive applications to improve performance, safety and ride quality. Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles (RMMV) provided funding to Supashock in May 2017 to develop an integrated active suspension system and intelligent load handling system for the Australian and international markets that will substantially increase the capability and safety of RMMV’s military trucks in demanding on and off-road environments. Through comparative testing, Supashock’s suspension technology has been shown to substantially improve the mobility of Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles (RMMV) trucks, while at the same time enhancing on-road safety and reducing the shock and vibration experienced by the load the truck is carrying.   [post_title] => Queensland in line for billion-dollar defence contract [post_excerpt] => One of the contenders for a $5bn defence contract has undertaken to base itself in Qld. 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australian-army

australian-army

a hard-earned thirst needs a big cold beer

Shout out to diggers through fortified alcohol management app

A free smartphone app designed to help current and ex-Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel and veterans manage their drinking has been updated with new features, including being able to email an individual’s drinking history to a doctor or to themselves. ON TRACK with The Right Mix, (iTunes download ; Android download) which was originally launched […]

Gallipoli ANZAC Day ballot put up for grabs

Julian Bajkowski A resurgence of popular interest in Australia’s military history and especially the tragic icon of the Gallipoli campaign may bring thousands of war veterans and young patriots to Turkey each year, but there’s a catch. Such is the mass popularity of the pilgrimage that the government has been forced to call for commercial […]