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Subject: Extended Christmas vacation for the RAN?
HERALD1357    11/18/2008 12:41:33 AM
Is this true? Herald
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HERALD1357    Where I read this....,..   11/18/2008 12:45:05 AM

Monday, November 17, 2008

Australian Navy Goes on Vacation


Defence Minister Joel Fitzgibbon says a two-month Navy shutdown over Christmas has been ordered to give staff a rest as the Navy continues to grapple with staff shortages. The shutdown will involve all ships not on operational duties and some staff will be allowed to work from home.

Mr Fitzgibbon says the Government is working to address staff shortages in the Navy. "We're doing a lot of work trying to find new and innovative ways both to retain skilled people and recruit new people and this is an interim initiative designed to just give some rest and respite to people in Navy where we have our biggest challenge," he told Lyndal Curtis on AM.

"These people have been facing an extended period of operational tempo and it's just a way of saying thank you and encouraging them to stay in the service rather than leave."

He has also not ruled out further Christmas shutdowns in the future.

Posted by Robert Farley at 8:15 PM" width="18" height="18" />

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Gecko       11/18/2008 12:56:45 AM
Yep. Its not quite a 2 month holiday though. It's just putting on hold any non-essential deployments for two months so the sailors can have a 9-5 job and take extended leave over this time to see more of their family. Basically all excercises and training that won't fit the 9-5 role will be pushed into the other 10 months of the year. It's a smart move as it should definately help the retention rate.

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SCisback       11/18/2008 1:52:53 AM
I don't see how this has become a news issue.
It happens every year.
Slow news day + no journalist research = What the hell?
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THEPUSSMK2       11/18/2008 2:59:53 AM
Because of OP TEMPO most sea going sailors have huge leave credits that they have been unable to clear.  A Ships go a away for up to 8 months (or more) months a year and when they come back some sailors are in a watchbill as bad as one in three so not much of a chance to take leave. A couple of years of that and most sailors have had enough and discharge. So the idea is to have a long break so the sailors can take the leave they are entilted to....either that or not have a navy in a couple of years. 
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Volkodav       11/18/2008 6:37:12 AM

Navy personnel deserve time off: ADA boss

By News Online's Adrian Crawford

Posted 5 hours 20 minutes ago
Updated 1 hour 13 minutes ago

All hands off deck...Mr James says defence personnel often work far more hours than civilian employees." width="285" />

All hands off deck...Mr James says defence personnel often work far more hours than civilian employees. (AAP Image: Mick Tsikas, file photo)

The executive director of the Australia Defence Association (ADA) says any suggestion that defence personnel should have to accept working over the Christmas period is "ridiculous".

Defence Minister Joel Fitzgibbon announced this morning that the Australian Navy would stand down all ships on non-operational duties for two months of Christmas holidays.

The shutdown will also give some defence personnel the opportunity to work from home, in a move aimed at encouraging staff retention and a healthy family-work balance.

Neil James says that defence personnel put in much longer working weeks than employees in other industries.

"Anyone in the defence force already serves, on a weekly basis, many more working hours than people in the civil community," he said.

"There's only so many years you can drag a willing horse to the trough."

He says some units are implementing restrictions on the time serving troops can spend away from home.

"The SAS regiment has a rule now that you can't spend more than two consecutive Christmases away from home," he said.

"The idea that people in the defence force should willingly sacrifice everything that other Australians come to expect is ridiculous, particularly given what we pay them."

Earlier today, the federal Opposition questioned how the shutdown would be perceived by other countries, with defence spokesman David Johnston saying "we are sending a message that the Navy is on holidays over Christmas".

But Mr James said there is a precedent for such moves overseas too.

"First of all, [overseas nations] probably won't notice and secondly, if they did notice most of them do it too," he said.

"For instance, the Indonesian Navy stands down at different times.

"This isn't a complete shutdown of the entire Navy, it's just for a reasonably short period, as many ships as possible will be shut down so people can spend time with their families."

Ulterior motives


Mr James dismissed rumours that all three branches of the ADF would be implementing a partial shut-down as a measure to save fuel, not to retain staff.

"I wouldn't think that's a plausible explanation. They've been thinking about doing things like this for a long time," he said.

"A lot of the activities that you won't do during the stand-down you'll have to do later on anyway, so you won't actually save fuel anyway.

"I'd be surprised if that was the motivation."

A spokesman from the Department of Defence confirmed that fuel saving was not the reason for the stand-down.

"Navy have extended their stand-down period this year to provide additional rest and respite to personnel, in support of Navy's retention initiatives," the spokesman said in a statement.

"Navy will maintain all operational tasking and emergency standby requirements.

"While the extended Navy Stand down may provide some fuel savings it was not the reason for implementing this initiative."

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Aussie Diggermark 2       11/19/2008 3:15:05 AM
Yes. It happens in ADF every single year. Only this year the Media apparently has nothing better to talk about...
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