(Australian Associated Press)
Women represent almost 20 per cent of air force personnel, more than in the army and navy, but still not good enough, RAAF chief Air Marshal Leo Davies says.
Indigenous people comprise 1.1 per cent of air force personnel and that isn’t good enough either, he said.
“That means we do not have the best that Australia has to offer,” he said.
Air Marshal Davies said there were still significant instances of unconscious bias, failure to meet RAAF standards and outright sexist behaviour within the air force.
Outlining his vision for the RAAF’s 10-year strategy in an address to the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, he said the RAAF needed to be able to move on from the current positions where it could work jointly with the army and navy, if required.
That meant moving into “an integrated reality” where the RAAF trained, exercised and deployed as the air power element of every defence force operation.
He said the RAAF’s capability edge was generated in large part by its people and diversity was the key to success.
“We have established a clear vision to grow female representation to 25 per cent by 2023 as a minimum and not as a goal,” he said.
The latest defence annual report shows females make up 12.1 per cent of the army and 18.8 per cent of the navy. Indigenous people make up 1.9 per cent of the navy, 1.4 per cent of the permanent army force but 2.7 per cent of the army reserve.
Air Marshal Davies said the RAAF also needed to think about its basing, as unlike the army or navy, bases were intrinsic to air power.
The RAAF demographic is also changing, with job opportunities for spouses and social consistency for teenaged offspring emerging as factors affecting recruiting, job satisfaction and retention.
He said the RAAF needed to get basing and infrastructure right and carefully consider the basing footprint.
It also meant meant hardening facilities to better withstand attack and also developing concepts for mobile basing.
“In a high-end conflict the ability to move easily between bases may be key to our mission success,” he said.