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FEW would know, and even fewer still
would care, that the correct name of
the Holsworthy Barracks pool is the
Sir John Northcott pool.
The name of the facility may be found
on the grimy piece of laminated paper
that serves to represent the emergency
fire escape plan stuck to the wall inside
the male showers and latrines.
Heaven forbid should a pool catch on
fire. But I digress.
Imagine my disappointment when, on
completion of a gruelling 2.4km run on
one wintry Sunday afternoon, I decided
to jump into the pool to prevent further
perspiration like a Sham-wow being
wrung out on the pavement -- and real-
ised that I couldn't.
It was 3.30pm and apparently the pool
was being shut, despite the large sign out
the front saying otherwise.
When questioning the civilian pool
lifeguard in attendance, she politely reas-
sured me the hours of operation were
about to change.
The pool would remain open long-
er on the weekends and be shut earlier
on weekdays at 4pm. This was due to
the contract conditions set out by Serco
Once upon a short lifetime ago, I
worked as a part-time civilian lifeguard
at the Holsworthy Barracks pool before
enlisting in the Army.
I know from experience there are
quite a few adamant and determined
swimmers within the ranks who are only
too willing and crazy enough to jump
into the water all-year round. About 80
per cent of these people will use the pool
during the week, few on the weekend.
The proposed closure of the pool at
4pm is a disgrace and a sheer waste of
Unless your unit has booked it for
a scheduled physical training session,
when else are you able to benefit from
what it has to offer? Not to mention the
relatively new weight-training heave
beam area constructed and co-located
within its surrounds.
Will my platoon sergeant allow me an
extra half an hour to get changed and run
down there and back in my lunch hour
in order to train? I don't think so. That
would be an unrealistic expectation.
Such change flies in the face of sup-
porting Defence members in maintaining
what is inarguably a fairly low manda-
tory standard of fitness as it is.
Not to mention denying the facility
to families and dependants also. Perhaps
it's time to give that Visa card a good
workout instead and join a gym that has
a pool, or move the entire barracks over
to Cronulla Beach where such change
wouldn't affect anyone else.
Or perhaps in this age of budg-
et cuts and belt tightening, it's time to
Q: What has occurred with
the Family Health Trial?
A: Some facts and figures to put
the trial in perspective:
There are 2382 dependants of
1028 Army personnel registered
to participate in the trial.
251 of these dependants are
from Stage 1 trial locations --
Pilbara Region (WA), Singleton
(NSW), East Sale (Vic),
Katherine (NT) and Cairns
2131 dependants are from
Stage 2 trial locations --
Townsville (Qld), Darwin (NT)
and Puckapunyal (Vic).
Triservice trial participation is
3848 dependants, or 24 per cent
of the eligible ADF dependant
population of 16,000. Therefore,
62 per cent of dependants par-
ticipating in the trial are Army.
Findings and recommenda-
tions from the interim evaluation
are with the Minister for consid-
Key feedback conducted to
inform the evaluation indicates:
ADF families would like
more choice as to which medical
practitioner they attend;
families would like access to
a range of allied health services
such as physiotherapy and opti-
cal, not just dental;
the negative implications of
Fringe Benefit Tax reporting on
the members' payment summary
might have affected uptake of
the trial benefits; and
the inequity of the current
trial locations. ADF families
would like to see the initiative
expanded to other locations.
Q: What are we doing to look
after our injured soldiers?
A: Firstly, any soldier who is
injured, whether on operations
or during other service, receives
the very best of medical care and
The CA takes special inter-
est in the standard of care that is
delivered to all soldiers.
There have been many recent
changes made in the policy
area concerning caring for our
injured soldiers. So much so
Wild but not wet
say 'enough is enough' in the way the
Australian Army is managed. I've had
to tighten my belt so many times over
the past seven years it has now become
a permanent tattoo on my subcutaneous
Or maybe it's time for civilian com-
panies that manage Defence facilities to
be put on notice and put in their place --
their job is to support our operations and
enhance them, not hinder them.
There should be no compromise in
the standard of service delivered. These
companies exist to serve our needs.
Those civilian and military alike, who
are employed to manage such contracts,
should be held publicly accountable for
their actions, especially where it is at a
disadvantage to Defence members. Let's
save some money by removing issued
underwear from the block scales enti-
tlement (I mean, seriously, who wears
these?), not cutting back on what meagre
facilities and resources we have left.
I would suggest swimming near
Middle Head on the North Shore of
Sydney near the old Water Transport
Training School, but we sold that.
Yes, perhaps the budget constraints
won't end here. Maybe we could save
an additional 25 per cent by establishing
new signage that is 25 per cent shorter
with the correct hours of operation tim-
ings displayed, by dropping the letter "l"
from the word "pool".
Pte Mark Turner
that, in the short term, much
of the policy to cater for the
changes to the way we care for
injured soldiers is contained in
CA Directives while Defence
Instructions are rewritten or
The fundamental shift is
towards a time-based approach
where the rehabilitation of the
soldier takes precedence.
Of course in the long term,
the soldier must be able to be
gainfully employed in the Army
if they are to be retained.
This change in policy does
not mean that the soldier will
have a job for life if there is no
means or method by which the
Army can retrain him or her in a
different skill set and safely and
gainfully employ them.
Time will be allowed for
rehabilitation, reskilling and
transition to the new skill if the
soldier is to remain in the Army.
Further changes include the
manner in which soldiers must
have all their entitlements clari-
fied and confirmed before leav-
ing the Army if that is the end
result of their rehabilitation and
the medical employment cat-
Previous articles in this
column have explained the rea-
son for the Regional Casualty
Administration Support Officer
placements to assist with the
care of those soldiers who need
long-term rehabilitation and
Ripples of annoyance: Pool closure times have left a correspondent unhappy.
Photo by LAC Aaron Curran
LETTERS AND VIEWPOINTS 23
Army August 19, 2010
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