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Support for student reservists ‘best practice’


Brigid Veale
16 April 2007
A Southern Cross University initiative to support students who are members of the Australian Defence Force Reserves will be used as a model for ‘best practice’ for other Australian educational institutions.

The University’s policy will be officially launched at the Coffs Harbour campus on Tuesday, April 17 by the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Paul Clark, and Mr Peter Lindsay MP, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Defence. Mr Lindsay will also be announcing a major review of Defence Reserves legislation.

Among the guests will be Major General Neil Wilson AO, Head of Reserve Policy and Assistant Chief of the Defence Force (Reserves).

Professor Clark said the University had developed the policy to provide support for students who were involved in the Defence Force Reserves. It complements an existing policy for staff who are members of the Reserves.

“We have a number of students who give up their time to participate in the Reserves and we have recognised the need for special consideration with regard to issues such as attendance and assessment requirements,” Professor Clark said.

“We are extremely pleased that our policy is now being used by the Office of Reserve Service Protection (ORSP) as an example of ‘best practice’ for other educational institutions.”

Southern Cross University student Adam Atkins, who will be attending the launch, has already discovered the benefits of combining fulltime study with a role in the Defence Force Reserves.

Private Atkins, a rifleman in the 41st Battalion of the Royal New South Wales Regiment in Lismore, is studying a combined Bachelor of Arts/Law degree and is hoping to eventually join the Australian Army Legal Corps.

“I do over 100 days service a year with the Reserves and I still manage to study fulltime – I give a lot of time to both. The University is very understanding of my commitment, granting extensions for assessments if I’m away,” he said.

“I really enjoy being an Army Reservist. The camaraderie, the skills learnt along the way and the experiences gained are excellent. Being a student and on Youth Allowance I really like the tax-free pay as Reserve income doesn’t affect Centrelink payments.”

The launch of the Policy to Support Student Defence Reservists will be held on Tuesday, April 17, at 11am at the O Block lecture theatre followed by lunch at the Osprey Restaurant, Coffs Harbour campus.