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The Hon Michael Keenan MP
Minister for Human Services
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Digital Transformation

The Hon Darren Chester MP
Minister for Veterans' Affairs
Minister for Defence Personnel
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC


Monday, 13 August 2018

Joint media release — Military skills enlisted to help defend Australia's welfare system

The Department of Human Services is partnering with a key veterans' employment agency to help give Australia's former service men and women much needed opportunities to re-skill for civilian life.

Up to 36 veterans will be engaged by the Department, over the next three years, to train and work within its Cyber Security Branch which defends the welfare system against the very real threat of online attacks.

The recruits have all been hand-picked by training provider WithYouWithMe, as part of its "Talent Unleashed" program, which assists former Navy, Army and Air Force personnel to transition into new careers.

Minister for Human Services, Michael Keenan, said veterans often found making the switch to civilian life challenging and this new training partnership would help them build on the valuable skills they have already attained during their military service.

"Their proven leadership and problem-solving skills make them ideal candidates to work within our Cyber Security Branch where they will continue to help defend Australia, albeit against a different type of threat," Minister Keenan said.

"That threat is ever-present and these men and women will gain invaluable experience in a vitally important and growing new industry which is expected to be hit by skill shortages in the not-too-distant future."

Minister for Veterans' Affairs, Darren Chester, said the initiative reflected the Turnbull Government's strong commitment to ensuring former service personnel were given every chance of success when they left the Australian Defence Force.

"By working and partnering with government, the Department of Veterans' Affairs, the Department of Defence and the business community, we can all help to make a difference in assisting our ex-serving men and women secure meaningful employment on transition," Mr Chester said.

"I've seen up close the professionalism, the dedication, the leadership and teamwork of our highly skilled ADF personnel. Now what employer wouldn't want those skills in their workplace, hiring a veteran is good for your business".

Four of the new recruits will start work today and will undergo extensive on-the-job training as they learn to test for vulnerabilities within the department's ICT environment.

They will be in good company, working alongside several senior staff members who have also come from military backgrounds.

The Department of Human Services delivers around $175 billion in payments each year to more than six million Australians.

While cyber threats are increasing, our ability to fend off attacks is also constantly improving.

"The department's capability in this critical area was recognised last year when the Australian National Audit Office found it was cyber resilient and meets the top four mitigation strategies of the Australian Signals Directorate," Minister Keenan said.

"I look forward to seeing our new recruits thrive as they embrace this opportunity and help us to continue to keep the welfare system safe from those who would seek to do us harm."


Media contacts:

Minister Keenan's office: Grant Taylor — 0411 406 778
Minister Chester's office: Whil Prendergast — 0427 672 815

Open Arms – Veterans and Families Counselling provides support for current and ex-serving ADF personnel and their families. Free and confidential help is available 24/7. Phone 1800 011 046 (international: +61 8 8241 4546) or visit