'Aye' on Indigenous development

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT Rob Valler (author), LSIS Nina Fogliani (photographer)

Location(s): HMAS Cairns, QLD

Topic(s): Defence Indigenous Development Program (DIDP), NAIDOC Week

Director General Capability Work Stream Commodore Robert Morrison, CSC, RAN, presents graduation certificates to the graduates of the third Navy Defence Indigenous Development Program at HMAS Cairns. (photo: LSIS Nina Fogliani)
Director General Capability Work Stream Commodore Robert Morrison, CSC, RAN, presents graduation certificates to the graduates of the third Navy Defence Indigenous Development Program at HMAS Cairns.

Fifteen more Recruits from Navy's Defence Indigenous Development Program graduated on 9 July.

Having worked tirelessly over four months to build skills in physical fitness, literacy, numeracy, military compliance and cultural development, it was a significant milestone to complete the program.

Families and friends gathered at HMAS Cairns recognising the increasing links between Navy and Indigenous cultures, and were treated to a military parade followed by cultural dancing.

Parade reviewing officer, Commodore Bob Morrison said that it was a proud moment for the individuals but also a great celebration during NAIDOC Week.

“I am delighted to see these promising young men and women graduating here today and to hear of their achievements during the program,” he said.

“As they go on to the serve in the Navy or whether they go on to contribute to their family and their community in some other way, they have all shown the great things they can do.”

The Defence Indigenous Development Program was established in 2010. It has proven to be a very positive program that has significantly increased recruitment from Indigenous Australia, strengthening diversity within Defence. It is also a continuation of the long tradition of Indigenous people contributing to the defence of Australia and becoming role models for people in their communities.

This is the third Navy-led intake and forms part of Navy’s Indigenous Employment Strategy which is closely aligned to the Defence Reconciliation Action Plan and Government’s agreement to increase Indigenous representation in the workforce.

Office in Charge of the Program, Lieutenant Commander Luke Weston said that the confidence and skills generated through the program were often a turning point for many.

“Today is a proud day for the Navy, the Recruits, their families, friends and communities,” he said.

“This graduation ceremony highlights a true meeting of cultures which demonstrates that we can all stand proudly together and move forward for a better Australia.”

Graduating Recruit Caleb Ober reflected on his experiences on the course and said that they were a life highlight.

“If I had to choose my best day ever, my finest hour, my dream which has come true; mine would be this,” he said.

Successful Recruits may be given the opportunity to extend their period of service and continue in the Australian Defence Force through General Enlistment.

Imagery is available on the Navy Image Gallery:
http://images.defence.gov.au/S20151922.