Strong Navy voice at Indigenous conference

Published on Mr Michael Rowe (author), LCDR Ian Lumsden (photographer)

Location(s): HMAS Harman, ACT

Topic(s): Defence Indigenous Development Program (DIDP), HMAS Harman, Indigenous Pre Recruitment Course

Indigenous sailors gather together at HMAS Harman for the 2013 DATSIN Annual Conference, (L-R) AB Lateika Smith, PO Sam Shepard, LS Daniel Cunningham, LS Erol Williams, CPO Ray Rosendale, PO Glen Hall, CPO Jerry Savage, and CMDR Chris Curtis. (photo: Ian Lumsden)
Indigenous sailors gather together at HMAS Harman for the 2013 DATSIN Annual Conference, (L-R) AB Lateika Smith, PO Sam Shepard, LS Daniel Cunningham, LS Erol Williams, CPO Ray Rosendale, PO Glen Hall, CPO Jerry Savage, and CMDR Chris Curtis.

Over 100 Defence members from around Australia attended the annual Defence Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Network (DATSIN) conference at HMAS Harman on 19-21 August.

The conference was an opportunity for indigenous ADF members, APS staff, and Indigenous Liaison and Recruiting staff to meet and discuss the current issues and challenges that face Defence. The conference was also a celebration and recognition of the valuable contribution of Aboriginal and Islander people within the Defence environment.

Navy was represented for the first time at the conference by the Regional Indigenous Liaison Officers. They have recently completed cultural competency training and are working for the commands in their posting regions. These members are both indigenous and non-indigenous permanent Navy and Reserve members. They have a number of tasks which includes providing advice to their commands on indigenous cultural issues, coordinating indigenous community engagement and being a point of contact for all indigenous serving members in their region.

Each region will also be hosting recruiting and training activities for indigenous recruit candidates. Volunteers from across the Navy are helping with these programs that vary from day visits to the five month residential courses run at HMAS Cairns.

“Navy has really turned a corner with its indigenous engagement,” Commander Curtis, responsible for Navy Indigenous policy and plans, told delegates to the DATSIN conference.

The appointment of Chief Petty Officer (CPO) Ray Rosendale as Navy Strategic Advisor to the Chief of Navy has been followed up with the appointment of regional advisors. In 2014, Navy will be supporting two Defence Indigenous Development Program (DIDP) courses and also four of the six-week Indigenous Pre-Recruitment Courses (IPRC).

The Navy indigenous network is growing strongly and many indigenous serving members are stepping forward to lend a hand and involve themselves with some of the exciting activities that are being run. The International Fleet review will have its own indigenous tall ship, with the current Navy graduates of DIDP sailing the Queensland Sail Training Ship South Passage from Brisbane to Sydney. These DIDP graduates will be joined by other indigenous serving members to conduct several sails on Sydney Harbour during the week long celebration. They will also be joined by indigenous sporting and entertainment stars, community leaders and Indigenous Navy veterans.

Serving Indigenous members who want to join in for a sail on the harbour, help with community engagement, recruiting programs or connect with the Indigenous network should contact CPO Ray Rosedale via email at ray.rosendale@defence.gov.au.