The need for improved housing, schooling options and employment opportunities for Australian Defence Force (ADF) families were among the key findings from a recent survey targeting Defence members and their families that have recently posted to South Australia.
The online survey, conducted by Veterans SA last month, sought to gain a clearer understanding of Defence families’ experiences when moving to South Australia in order to improve policies and services to better support them.
All three ADF services – Air Force, Army and Navy – were represented in the survey, which was completed by current serving members and partners in both metropolitan and regional areas. Of the respondents who had children, the majority were either early childhood or primary school-aged.
The vast majority of respondents indicated South Australia was a desirable posting location, with many identifying the lifestyle, weather and leisure options as major benefits of moving to the state.
Despite these strengths, the survey identified a number of areas for improvement, with housing experiences, limited children’s education options and issues around employment opportunities for spouses identified as concerns for Defence families posted to South Australia.
A number of ADF partners found it difficult to secure full-time work, with just over half of ADF partners and spouses employed locally, while 11 per cent were still seeking employment.
Veterans SA Director Chantelle Bohan said the survey results will guide future advocacy efforts and support to ADF members and their families to ensure their posting to South Australia is a positive experience.
“While it is encouraging to see many ADF members and their families view South Australia as an attractive posting location, there are areas where our efforts can be channelled to ensure Defence families are well-supported when moving to the state,” she said.
“The survey provides our agency with a deeper understanding of the needs of Defence families and will help shape policies and services to better support them.
“Moving forward, we will have a strong focus on promoting ADF partner employment and educating employers on the value that ADF partners can bring to the workplace.
“We will also aim to increase awareness and educate schools and the wider South Australian community regarding the unique experiences of ADF children and will provide ADF community feedback to relevant departments and organisations.
“This is the first time Veterans SA has conducted this type of survey in South Australia and it provides a valuable benchmark. We intend to undertake this survey annually to ensure that we can improve experiences and outcomes for the Defence community in South Australia.”
The survey was distributed to ADF members and their families by Veterans SA in partnership with Department of Defence Chain of Command, North-East Defence Community Centre, Woodside Defence Families Association and Defence Families of Australia.
View the survey results through the dashboard.