The Chief of Army has indicated at Senate Estimates hearings today his on-going intent to ensure that soldiers who suffer serious injuries are either transitioned into appropriate positions in the military, or given assistance to transition into gainful employment outside the military.
Under questioning by Senator Ian Macdonald regarding the case of Townsville-based soldier Sergeant Michael Lyddiard the acting Chief of the Defence Force (CDF) Vice Admiral Ray Griggs and the Chief of Army (COA) Lieutenant General Angus Campbell made clear that the Australian Defence Force is committed to doing everything it can to assist seriously injured personnel.
The CDF indicated that previously – around 15 years ago – it was normal practice for soldiers to be “transitioned out if they were not deployable”.
Now, however, injured soldiers are re-distributed within Defence “..if at all possible.”
Regarding Sergeant Lyddiard’s specific case, Lieutenant General Campbell said that he was concerned about the details that he had heard and that he intended “to pursue them.”
Senator Macdonald however agreed with the General that in a public forum like Senate Estimates it was not appropriate to discuss the private details of an individual case.
“But my enquiry is more about Army policy in cases like this,” said Senator Macdonald.
Lieutenant General Campbell said that this was a “clearly a theme [he was] very interested in” and that despite whatever the defence policy might be, he is committed to ensuring that Army is “living the policy”.
Senator Macdonald indicated to the COA that he was very encouraged by this approach.
“There has clearly been a cultural change within Defence on this issue,” said Senator Macdonald after the hearing.
“And I hope that when the COA review’s the individual case that was raised today, a more satisfactory solution may be found.”