Defence Reserve Employer Support Award State and Territory winners announced

Defence recognises the contribution of all civilian employers who support their Australian Defence Force (ADF) Reservist employees. Each year, ADF Reservists are asked to nominate their civilian employers as part of the Employer Support Awards in recognition of continued, significant support.

Below are the winners of the Employer Support Awards by State and Territory:

Victoria Employer Support Award Winners

The Victoria nominations were made in 2019 due to the awards cycle, these State nominations and winners were considered for the 2020 National Awards, announced on 10 November 2020.

Winners of the Victoria State Employer Support Awards are:

  • Coles Group
  • QBE Insurance
  • Agfa Healthcare
  • Australia Post
  • Bendigo South East College

VIC Private Sector – large sized business winner is Coles Group

Coles Group was nominated by Lieutenant Rory McDonald for demonstrating outstanding support and understanding in the value of employing ADF Reserve members. Coles Group have showed no hesitation in providing necessary leave for LT McDonald to complete training exercises or for the national call-out for Operation Bushfire Assist 2019–2020.

“Coles Group have shown their dedication to supporting their ADF Reservists goes beyond leave policies. My General Manager provided consistent welfare support to myself and my family such as calls and arranging access for my wife to company support services. This displayed a deeper understanding of the unique stressors that serving members face whilst on operational deployments,” said LT McDonald.

VIC Private Sector – large sized business winner is QBE Insurance

QBE Insurance was nominated by Trooper Travis Kennedy for implementing Reserve policies enabling TPR Kennedy to undertake multiple professional development courses that benefit both his civilian and military career. QBE Insurance also allowed the release of TPR Kennedy for Operation Bushfire Assist 2019–2020, their quick response allowed TPR Kennedy to join the task group within 12 hours to affect as much assistance as possible for the community.

“QBE Insurance has demonstrated a willingness to support ADF Reserve Service since my employment in 2014. Their commitment to their Reservist’s professional development shows that they place high value on the ADF training and understand the benefit of transferrable skills in commercial operations,” said TPR Kennedy.

VIC Private Sector – small sized business winner is Agfa Healthcare

Agfa Healthcare was nominated by Major Gordon Dunlop for their consistent support of Reserve service over his eight year employment. Agfa Healthcare have supported MAJ Dunlop’s attendance on various exercises and deployments and acknowledge the invaluable experience and skills he gains and can bring back to his civilian employment.

“Agfa Healthcare is an organisation that has displayed strong support for the Australian Defence Force Reserves and knowledge of the mutual benefits associated with supporting employees through their Reserve careers,” said MAJ Dunlop.

VIC Public Sector winner – Australia Post

Australia Post was nominated by Lieutenant Colonel Edward Luisetto for implementing significant programs to ensure they provide the highest level of support to their Reserve workforce. Australia Post has provided outstanding support to LTCOL Luisetto throughout every stage of his Army Reserve career. Australia Post understood the need for a Reservist to undertake various courses that develop technical, social and professional mastery.

“Australia Post’s support has not only enabled me to progress through the soldier and officer ranks but allowed them to benefit as I undertook different roles within Australia Post - often mirroring the levels of responsibility/status of position,” said LT Luisetto.

VIC Public Sector winner – Bendigo South East College

Bendigo South East College was nominated by Sergeant Glenn Luderman for demonstrating sustained, high-level support of the ADF Reserves by maintaining supportive policies that enable their employees to maintain their Reserve career. Bendigo South East College is also held in high regard their longstanding association with the local Army Reserve Unit, 8th/7th Battalion, Royal Victorian Regiment.

“Bendigo South East College develop initiatives that integrate the unit into curricular and engagement activities. This is well received by the Bendigo Community and highlight the mutual benefits of a close relationship with the ADF Reserves,” said SGT Luderman.

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Western Australia Employer Support Awards

The Western Australia nominations were made in 2019 due to the awards cycle, these State nominations and winners were considered for the 2020 National Awards, announced on 10 November 2020.

Winners of the Western Australia State Employer Support Awards are:

  • Chevron
  • Alliance Airlines
  • Southwest Foot and Ankle Centre
  • State Solicitors Office of Western Australia
  • Curtin University

WA Private Sector – large sized business winner is Chevron

Chevron was nominated by Lieutenant Peter Velterop for the organisations ongoing support to the ADF Reserves. Chevron offers a generous Reserve Leave Policy that includes make-up pay for the duration of deployments with no cap for the months served. Chevron Australia has also established a Veteran’s Network to ensure Veterans and Reservists are represented and engaged at all levels of the company.

“Among Chevron Australia’s numerous Reservists, it has provided sustained support for me since 2012. Chevron Australia’s commitment to the Reservists in its workforce enables them to realise their potential and contribute to Australian Defence Force capability,” said LEUT Velterop.

WA Private Sector – medium sized business winner is Alliance Airlines

Alliance Airlines was nominated by Squadron Leader Mark Levitt for demonstrating, from the highest levels of the company, a strong commitment to the completion of Reserve service by its employees. As a small airline with complex scheduling, Alliance has incorporated enough flexibility its systems to give employees the opportunity to undertake Reserve service on the dates and times required.

“Throughout my time with the company I have been encouraged and supported to remain an active Reserve member. As an employer, Alliance Airlines has made an effort to establish a system and protocol of engagement that enables me the opportunity to complete Reserve service in a positive environment of mutual trust and open communication,” said SQNLDR Levitt.

WA Private Sector - small sized business winner is Southwest Foot and Ankle Centre

Southwest Foot and Ankle was nominated by Private Jason Lim for supporting Reserve service in regional Western Australia. Southwest Foot and Ankle Centre provides their Reservist support although being a small private healthcare practice.

“My employer has shown great compassion and commitment by accommodating for the unique needs and requirements of ADF Reserve Service,” said PTE Lim.

WA Public Sector winner is State Solicitors Office of Western Australia

The State Solicitors Office (SSO) of Western Australia was nominated by Flight Lieutenant Patricia Famia. SSO of WA has regularly employed and supported ADF Reservists in various capacities since its inception in 1838. It recognises the distinctive qualities and capabilities Reservists bring to their civilian work and the unique training in military, professional and leadership skills their Reservist employees receive.

“The SSO very strongly supports me in completing regular Legal Aid duty lawyer assignments, encourages training and studies and provides me with flexible working arrangements and leave, often at short notice,” said FLTLT Femia.

WA Not-for-Profit winner is Curtin University

Curtin University was nominated by Corporal William Rickard for supporting ADF Reserve service of its staff and students over many years. In addition to this continued support, Curtin University has been flexible in its response to short-term changes of requests by the Australian Defence Force. The
management of the university has shown it values the activities of Reservists in many current and former members.
“I have been in the Army reserve for 16 years and have also studied and worked full time at Curtin University over the same period. The management of Curtin University value my Reserve service and have cited it as highly beneficial for my leadership and management skills,” said CPL Rickard.

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New South Wales Employer Support Award Winners

Winners of the New South Wales’ State Employer Support Awards are:

  • FDC Construction and Fitout Pty Ltd
  • Projects Assured
  • Project Everest Ventures
  • WaterNSW
  • Royal Flying Doctor Service

NSW Private Sector – large sized business winner is FDC Construction and Fitout Pty Ltd

FDC Construction and Fitout was nominated by Captain Stuart King, to acknowledge all the support and flexibility from his employer most notably from the recent Operation Bushfire Assist 2019–2020 call-out. FDC Construction and Fitout has given ongoing support for up to 15 ADF Reservists over the last six years and have previously engaged with Defence Reserves Employer Support by participating in the Executive Stretch Exercise.

“This clearly demonstrates the amount of value that high-level management within the organisation place in their Reservists, as they actively seek to employ them, support them and engage in Defence activities,” said Captain King.

NSW Private Sector – medium sized business winner is Projects Assured

Projects Assured was nominated by PTE Michael Huang for creating a safe, supported working environment where ADF Reservists can participate in their military duties without detriment to their civilian career. During the call-out for Operation Bushfire Assist 2019–2020, Projects Assured provided reassurance to Michael that the company would continue to support him.

“Projects Assured did not query how long I would be gone for, rather they provided continued reassurance and support and encouraged me to continue to serve my country,” said PTE Huang.

NSW Private Sector – small sized business winner is Project Everest Ventures

Project Everest Ventures was nominated by Lieutenant Andrew Vild for displaying outstanding commitment to the support of ADF Reservists through a strong understanding of the responsibilities of Reserve service. Project Everest Ventures granted LT Vild three months of paid leave to attend the final stages of his Officers Commissioning Course and Operation Bushfire Assist 2019–2020.

“The paid leave period is absolutely outstanding, being well over and above what most medium, large and government departments do for employees, let alone a small business that was still in its trial and start-up period,” said LT Vild.

NSW Public Sector Organisation winner is WaterNSW

Water NSW was nominated by Lieutenant Colonel Reuben Bowd for the continued support and encouragement from his superiors and executive leadership team. LT COL Bowd was in his civilian role for only four months when he was deployed on Operation Bushfire Assist 2019–2020, WaterNSW provided two months paid leave to fulfil his Reservist obligations.

“WaterNSW have demonstrated how highly Reservists are valued and strive to continue fostering a culture supportive to ADF Reserve service at all levels of the organisation,” said LT COL Bowd.

NSW Not-for-Profit Organisation winner is the Royal Flying Doctor Service

The Royal Flying Doctor Service was nominated by Lieutenant Colonel David Charlton for the continued steadfast support of the Reserve workforce. The Royal Flying Doctor Service both recognises and celebrates the transferable skills ascertained through Reserve service creating a supportive working environment for ADF Reservists.

“Through COVID-19 Assist they have supported me in continuing to serve even though it’s providing their own challenges to the business. I cannot say enough in how supportive and wonderful the Royal Flying Doctor Service have been,” said LT COL Charlton.

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Australian Capital Territory Employer Support Award Winners

The Australian Capital Territory nominations were made in 2019 due to the awards cycle, these State nominations and winners were considered for the 2020 National Awards, announced on 10 November 2020.

Winners of the Australian Capital Territory State Employer Support Awards are:

  • Canberra Hospital Intensive Care Unit
  • Department of Human Services

ACT Public Sector winner – Canberra Hospital Intensive Care Unit
Canberra Hospital Intensive Care Unit (CICU) was nominated by Flight Lieutenant Tristan Checkley.
For being an ongoing supportive employer for Defence Reservists over many years. CICU enthusiastically encourages their Reservist employees to participate in call-outs and training exercises and makes sacrifices to allow for this engagement.

FLTLT Checkley noted that, “CICU has supported their Reservists to undertake a range of regular reserve activities for varying lengths of time, including local unit training, domestic disaster response and major exercise participation.”

ACT Public Sector winner – Department of Human Services

The Department of Human Services was nominated by Captain Adrian Read for being a supportive organisation that has consistently and without hesitation granted Reservists significant periods of leave when required. The Department has demonstrated a strong and sustained interest and commitment to the military roles of their Reservists and how they contribute to Defence capability.

“Ms Beck, has been an outstanding supportive employer, committing her own time in electing to participate in the Bring a Boss employer engagement activity in order to enhance her understanding of the her Reservists’ commitments to the ADF and what skills they bring to the workplace due to their ADF service,” said CAPT Read.

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Queensland Employer Support Award Winners

Winners of the Queensland State Employer Support Awards are:

  • Raytheon Australia
  • Mining Equipment Maintenance
  • TAFE QLD Cairns Campus
  • Central Queensland University
  • ACT Networks

QLD Private Sector – large sized business winner is Raytheon Australia

Raytheon Australia was nominated by Corporal Daniel Williams for their ongoing support and flexible approach to his Army Reserve Service. Raytheon Australia is committed to giving back to the boarder military community through their support to ADF Reserves and veterans with 35 per cent of their Australian workforce is made up of former ADF personnel and Reservists.

“Raytheon Australia is held in the highest regard by its Reservists and the unwavering commitment they demonstrate in support of ADF Reserve Service is commendable,” said Daniel. Daniel has since moved on from the company but is still extremely supportive of their nomination.

QLD Private Sector – medium sized business winner is Mining Equipment Maintenance

Mining Equipment Maintenance was nominated by Private Matthew Stanke for actively being a strong supporter of his ADF Reserve Service during his apprenticeship. Mining Equipment Maintenance afforded PTE extended leave from his work commitments to deploy on Operation Resolute for six months. This deployment was considered an excellent opportunity for PTE Stanke to develop is professional skillset and widen his experiences that would ultimately contribute to both Mining Equipment Maintenance and Defence.

“Mining Equipment Maintenance is held in the highest regard by its Reservists and their unwavering
commitment in support of ADF Reserve Service is to be commended,” said PTE Stanke.

QLD Private Sector – medium sized business winner is ACT Networks

Australian Computer Traders (ACT) was nominated by Lance Corporal Joshua Mercier for their support during his Army reserve career. ACT Networks is proactive in always seeking new and exciting ways to support Lance Corporal Mercier’s service, often scheduling business operations around his ADF commitments.

ACT Networks has also afforded Lance Corporal Mercier extended leave from work to attend module and training courses, culminating in attending Exercise Brolga Run 2016, Exercise Talisman Sabre 2017 and Exercise Ypres 2018.

“I have maintained a strong commitment to the Reserves not only in my role as Section Commander, but also in my role as President of the John French VC (Mess) Committee,” said LCPL Mercier. “This important role has meant a greater commitment to Reserve Service which ACT Networks has supported in providing a day-to-day flexibility in my civilian position.”

QLD Public Sector Organisation is TAFE QLD Cairns Campus

TAFE QLD Cairns Campus was nominated by Chief Petty Officer Aaron Wilson for the campus’ continued support of his service life. TAFE QLD has demonstrated an outstanding commitment in support of ADF Reserve Service as evident through their supportive leave policies and also through the flexibility and understanding displayed at all levels of leadership within the organisation.

“This relationship is consistently enhanced through the support from TAFE Queensland to Defence Reserve Support activities and exercises and their excellent understanding of the mutually beneficial skillsets developed through ADF Reserve Service,” said CPO Wilson.

QLD Not-for-Profit Organisation is Central Queensland University

Central Queensland University was nominated by Sergeant Stephen Oberg for their ongoing support and commitment to his Army Reserve service for more than 21 years. The organisation is a long standing member of the Supportive Employer Program since 2014 and has had regular involvement in engagement activities such as Exercise Executive Stretch and Exercise Boss Lift.

“CQU not only supports staff but also students to provide Defence Reserve Service by simplifying the process of deferring study to allow attendance at their Defence Reserve commitments,” said SGT Oberg. “CQU’s understanding and support to ADF Reserve service highlights their commitment as an employer of choice for ADF Reservists.”

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South Australia Employer Support Award Winners

Winners of the South Australia State Employer Support Awards are:

  • Bunnings Building Supplies Pty Ltd
  • CMI Toyota Southside
  • Active Fencing & Retaining
  • Flinders Medical Centre
  • St Basil’s Homes Inc

SA Private Sector – large sized business winner is Bunnings Building Supplies Pty Ltd

Bunnings Building Supplies Pty Ltd was nominated by Leading Seaman Luke Townsend for providing generous long-term support for the past 14 years. Through the strong relationship Leading Seaman Townsend has formed with his manager, Bunnings Building Supplies were able to adapt operational planning to absorb any workplace pressures ensuring he can be released when required by the ADF.

“I acknowledge not only the generous support of my manager but also my colleagues who are always eager to hear about my Reserve service,” said LS Townsend.

SA Private Sector – medium sized business winner is CMI Toyota Southside

CMI Toyota Southside was nominated by Lance Corporal James Lewis for their continued long-term support. CMI Toyota Southside have developed a leave policy that ensures no financial hardship when LCPL Lewis is rendering Reserve service. CMI Toyota Southside have supported LCPL Lewis in approximately four months of Reserve service over the last 18 months, this including his release for disaster relief on Kangaroo Island during Operation Bushfire Assist 2019–2020.

“CMI Toyota Southside has provided me with extended support in the workplace, particularly upon my return from longer deployments such as Operation Resolute to ensure I’m not disadvantaged in my career in any way,” said LCPL Lewis.

SA Private Sector – small sized business winner is Active Fencing & Retaining

Active Fencing & Retaining was nominated by Private Bradley Coulthard for the support and assurance that he can confidently commit to his Reserve career. They supported PTE Coulthard’s disaster relief service on Kangaroo Island during Operation Bushfire Assist 2019–2020 and were understanding for him to commit to extending his contract to two months for this operation.

“Active Fencing & Retaining understood the significance of the tasks I was undertaking on Kangaroo Island, AFR constantly kept in contact and checked-in with me for my wellbeing,” noted PTE Coulthard.

SA Public Sector winner is Flinders Medical Centre

Flinders Medical Centre (FMC) was nominated by Captain Nathan Freeman for their continued generous support provided to the ADF Reserves. FMC releases their multiple Reservist employees for long-periods to provide medical capability to the ADF. FMC’s Operating Theatre Suite –
Anaesthetics Department (OTS-AD) understand how the skills and experience of CAPT Freeman’s deployments benefit not only his military career but also to his professional civilian employment.

“The OTS-AD have demonstrated the utmost support by releasing me from my civilian commitments at short notice on multiple occasions. My service has never been questioned or hindered, they have always been extremely understanding and supportive of myself including my family,” said CAPT Freeman.

SA Not-for-Profit winner is St Basil’s Homes Inc
St Basil’s Homes Inc was nominated by Warrant Officer Class Two Lynette Paterson. St Basil’s Homes provided WO Paterson ongoing and generous support to render Reserve service for over three years. During Operation Bushfire Assist 2019-2020, St Basil’s Homes provided assistance to her and her family, ensuring she was not disadvantaged financially by offering Special Leave.

“After my initial four weeks of service during Operation Bushfire Assist, I was able to negotiate working part-time to continue providing mental health screenings for demounting personnel. My manager and colleagues show a keen interest in the training, exercises and activities I undertake as a
Reservist,” said WO2 Paterson.

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Tasmania Employer Support Award Winners

Winners of the Tasmania State National Support Awards are:

  • Prensa Pty Ltd
  • NEXUS Hobart Day Surgery
  • Chubb Fire
  • Walker Designs
  • Flinders Island High School
  • Office of the Governor Tasmania
  • Royal Hobart Hospital, Emergency Department
  • University of Tasmania
  • Guilford Young College

TAS Private Sector – large sized business winner is Prensa Pty Ltd

Prensa Pty Ltd was nominated by Lance Corporal Jake Hearn for their outstanding support of ADF Reserves. Prensa have developed a Reserve friendly leave policy that provides flexible working arrangements for their Reserve employees.

“Prensa has been incredibly supportive of my Reserve service. They’ve encouraged me to make the most of the opportunities that Army has to offer. This has led to a mutually beneficial relationship between my service and my civilian career,” said LCPL Hearn.

TAS Private Sector – medium sized business winner is NEXUS Hobart Day Surgery

NEXUS Hobart Day Surgery was nominated by Warrant Officer Sharon White for the outstanding support provided during Operation Bushfire Assist 2019–2020. Sharon White was offered a full-time role within NEXUS Hobart Day Surgery as the call-out was initiated. NEXUS understood the importance and reassured WO White that she would still have a job to come back to.

“Nexus recognises that teamwork, leadership and communication skills through Reserve service bring a direct benefit to the team environment in the Hobart Day Surgery workplace,” said WO White.

TAS Private Sector – medium sized business winner is Chubb Fire and Security

Chubb Fire and Security was nominated by Sergeant Dominic Hendriksen for their continued support of ADF Reserves. Chubb Fire and Security has supported SGT Hendriksen for his last 25 years of service, most recently during the Operation Bushfire Assist 2019–2020 call-out that saw SGT Hendriksen deployed to Kangaroo Island to provide disaster relief.

“Chubb Fire and Security have always been a supportive employer and have allowed me to participate in courses, exercises and activities to continue to move forward within my Army Reserves career,” noted SGT Hendriksen.

TAS Private Sector – small sized business winner is Walker Designs

Walker Designs was nominated by Corporal Vincent Hendriksen for demonstrating a genuine interest in the ADF Reserve service by formalising a Reserve friendly leave policy. Walker Designs have also supported CPL Hendriksen to prioritise Reserve training commitments and the Operation Bushfire Assist 2019–2020 call-out without hesitation.

“Walker Designs accommodated my leave for Operation Bushfire Assist and topped up my pay to compensate for lost income while undertaking important work. This is a particularly impressive demonstration as Walker Designs is a small business of less than 20 employees,” said CPL Hendriksen.

TAS Public Sector winner - Flinders Island District High School

Flinders Island District High School was nominated by Private Justin Graham for providing a high level of support to the ADF Reserves. Flinders Island District High School support their employees to undertake various military commitments by initiating policies that enable Reserve service. The high school recognises the additional experience and invaluable transferrable skills their employees gain and would otherwise would not be achievable through their civilian employment.

PTE Graham said, “Flinders Island District High School is held in high regard by the 12 th /40 th Battalion
of the Royal Tasmania Regiment for supporting their remotely located Reservists as well as readily accommodating the Op Bushfire Assist call-out.”

TAS Public Sector winner - the Office of the Governor Tasmania

The Office of the Governor Tasmania was nominated by Colonel David Hughes for creating an encouraging Reserve service environment. The Office of the Governor Tasmania has supported a number of Reservists dating back to 2005. During the Operation Bushfire Assist 2019–2020, COL Hughes was permitted to leave the workplace at short notice, without a known return date in support of the disaster relief operation.

“The Office of the Governor Tasmania’s actions highlight that they hold Reserve service experience in high standing and acknowledge the critical nature of the Reserve capability towards achieving the ADF’s mission,” said COL Hughes.

TAS Public Sector winner – the Royal Hobart Hospital, Emergency Department

The Royal Hobart Hospital was nominated by Lieutenant Commander Juan Carlos Ascenio-Lane et al.

The Hospital has a full appreciation of the mutual benefits associated with employing Reservists and the shared sacrifices that are endured by the civilian workplace, the Reservist and their families. The hospital has continually demonstrated flexible work practices and proudly supports their Reservists’
involvement in all national disaster relief services.

LCDR Carlos Ascenio-Land et al said, “the Royal Hobart Hospital has enthusiastically and generously released serving Reservists to perform military service for extended periods over many years, notwithstanding the challenges of reworking rosters, sometimes at short notice.”

TAS Public Sector winner – The University of Tasmania

The University of Tasmania (UTAS) was nominated by Lieutenant Commander Hurd, Lieutenant Commander White and Corporal Fagg. UTAS, the Australian Maritime College and its commercial training and consultancy division, AMC Search, are proud and supportive employers of ADF Reservists. UTAS acknowledges the great value in employing ADF Reservists in the development and delivery of training courses for the Pacific Patrol Boat Program and has released their employees on numerous occasions to undertake high-profile exercises.

UTAS received nominations from three of its employees for their willingness to encourage and educate ADF achievements through written content further highlighting the critical contribution the Reserve capability provides to the ADF mission.

TAS Not-for-Profit Sector winner is the Guilford Young College

Guilford Young College was nominated by Lieutenant Commander Iain Weir and Captain Tom Calderwood. Guilford Young College currently has three serving Reservists employed and have developed a leave policy tailored to support each Reservist employee. Guilford Young College has also recently introduces a Certificate I in Defence Studies course to assist students wishing to join the ADF and has participated within a nation-wide recruiting video featuring staff members to promote the benefits of Reserve service.

LCDR Weir and CAPT Calderwood noted that Guilford Young College is genuinely interested in military service and can see its benefits of Reserve service, they take every opportunity to adopt the achievements of their Reservists.

 

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