Views on service life shared

Published on Ms Alex DeValentin (author), ABML-SC Craig Walton (photographer)

Topic(s): Culture

Petty Officer Boatswain Laura Whittle is joined by family members on the wharf at Fleet Base East, Garden Island, Sydney prior to her departure in HMAS Warramunga. (photo: ABML-SC Craig Walton)
Petty Officer Boatswain Laura Whittle is joined by family members on the wharf at Fleet Base East, Garden Island, Sydney prior to her departure in HMAS Warramunga.
Navy members and their families recently took part in the Australian Defence Force Families Survey to share their experiences of military life and their views on current support services available.
 
Deputy Chief of Navy, Rear Admiral Michael Noonan said the joint initiative of Defence and Defence Families Australia, this year focussed on employment, well-being, childcare and awareness and use of support services.
 
“The 2017 survey results are now out and provide Defence with insights into the impact of conditions of service on family members’ satisfaction with military life,” Rear Admiral Noonan said.
 
“Overall,  more than 1,000 Navy members and their families responded to the survey, representing 23 percent of respondents.”
 
The survey found that 70 percent of Navy partners and single-parent members are proud to tell others that they are part of a Defence family.
 
However, many civilian partners reported having to make career and employment sacrifices. While this is a recognised part of service life, given frequent relocations, reports of unemployment among Navy partners is around 12 percent, compared to the national average currently around 6 percent.
 
Underemployment, where partners are working part-time or casually but would like to do more, is also higher than in the wider population at around 11 percent.
 
When it comes to childcare, the survey found that 94 percent of Navy families can access the services they need. For those who have reported difficulties; affordability, places available, and operating hours are the main barriers.
 
“Defence is committed to understanding to the needs of Navy people and their families and will use the results from the survey to ensure programs and services continue to evolve to better meet their needs,” Rear Admiral Noonan said.
 
The detailed results of the survey, and how Defence is addressing key areas of concern for families, are now on the Defence Community Organisation website.