The Chief of Navy Vice Admiral Russ Crane AM CSM, RAN, has released a plan to dramatically improve Australia’s submarine workforce, after concerns a lack of numbers is placing an unacceptable strain on personnel.
“Our submariners remain a professional and ready force. By improving their working conditions we will ensure our Submarine Force remains sustainable now and into the future,” Vice Admiral Crane said.
Navy’s Submarine Workforce Sustainability Program will follow a five phase strategy designed to stabilise, recover and grow the submarine workforce over the next five years. The program focuses on getting more qualified submariners to sea and on improving support for them once deployed. The strain on seagoing submariners will be eased by increasing crew sizes from 46 to 58 people. A fourth submarine crew will be operating by the end of 2011.
The Submarine Workforce Sustainability Review was completed late last year. It made twenty nine recommendations aiming to improve submariners’ work/life balance. Vice Admiral Crane is implementing them all. Three recommendations are already being implemented, including new crewing arrangements, local area networks on submarines and relocation of the Submarine Communication Centre from eastern Australia to Fleet Base West in Western Australia by the end of 2009.
“The changes will improve submariners’ conditions of service with better training systems, better respite at sea and ashore, and better incentives to remain in the submarine force.
“This program will safeguard the future capability of Australia’s submarine fleet,” Vice Admiral Crane said. “Our people must come first. This will be a key part of our New Generation Navy initiative.”
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