As part of Navy’s growth and retention strategy, staff working in the office of Commander Shore Force have been developing a raft of new initiatives to support serving members while also preserving the traditions, culture and history of the service.
One such initiative aims to reinvigorate mess life across all naval establishments.
Commander Shore Force, Captain Steve Bowater said Navy mess membership was growing as a result of the initiative.
“Navy messes play an important role in enhancing Navy culture, while building Navy values and giving members a sense of belonging,” he said.
“Fleet Command, through Commander Shore Force’s office, have invested significant funds into improving mess amenities, such as WiFi, cable television and upgrading soft furnishings.
“As a result of the mess reinvigoration focus, mess memberships and patronage at social functions within warrant officers, senior sailors and wardroom messes have increased by an average of 150 percent,” Captain Bowater said.
Junior sailors mess committees across Navy establishments, of note HMAS Albatross, Coonawarra, Kuttabul and Stirling, have reinvigorated mess life for junior sailors through initiatives such as having trained barista staff providing coffee, holding payday raffles and increasing the number of social functions such as State of Origin nights.
Command Warrant Office Bill Shepherd said great work was also being done in delivering a better dining experience within establishments.
“Estate and Infrastructure Group and their sub-contractors have listened, and as a result exciting programs such as ‘Grab and Go’ have recently been introduced.
“Grab and Go provides members with a choice of a protein such as a sandwich, wrap or salad, a snack item, a piece of fruit and a drink for the price of a standard meal ticket.
“The Grab and Go concept is very popular at HMAS Cerberus, with over 30,000 meals provided since February this year,” Warrant Officer Shepherd said.
Captain Bowater said the standard of catering across Navy managed messes (Kuttabul, Stirling and Watson) remained high and would likely improve more with the introduction of the Silver Platter annual award for Shore Force-managed galleys.
“These initiatives go hand in hand with the recent opening of 24/7 gyms across all Navy Establishments,” Captain Bowater said.
“All of these programs arose from listening to our people,” he said.
The office of Commander Shore Force has also been looking at ways to improve transport options to support our personnel in Sydney, including better options for parking at Fleet Base East. Further announcements will be made on these initiatives in the near future.