Home' Defence Magazine : Issue 5 2010 Contents 22 www.defence.gov.au/defencemagazine
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MINISTERIAL AND ExECuTIVE SuPPORT
When an election date is announced and
the House of Representatives dissolved, the
Government will need to adhere to ‘Caretaker
Conventions’ until an election is held and a
clear result is known, or if there is a change of
Government, that new Government is sworn in.
During the caretaker period, Defence’s day-to-day
business continues and advice of a factual nature
is still provided to the ministers. Essentially, the
Government is still the Government but the rules
change slightly as the caretaker conventions
come into operation.
The caretaker conventions are special
arrangements which apply to government
business and the role of the APS during an
official Federal election campaign.
The conventions state that during the
› Governments avoid making major
› Governments avoid significant appointments
› Governments avoid major contracts
› Government avoid entering into major
international negotiations and visits
› Public servants avoid involvement in
Why have caretaker
These special arrangements apply because
every general election brings the possibility
of a change of government. Therefore, major
decisions or undertakings that would commit
an incoming government to a particular course
of action are avoided.
Furthermore, with the dissolution of the House
of Representatives, there is no popular chamber
to which the Executive can be held responsible.
The caretaker conventions also protect the
apolitical nature of the public service and ensure
Commonwealth resources are not used in a way
that advantages a particular political party.
How does this
As officers of the Commonwealth and members
of the Australian Defence Force, this will affect
advice to ministers and their staff.
All Defence employees need to be aware of what
decisions are usually avoided by the Government
during the caretaker period, the role of the
A Federal election is likely to be held later this year which will affect the advice
and support Defence provides to its ministers.
Opposition in any major decision that does
need to be taken, how requests to visit bases and
establishments are dealt with, and what advice
should or should not be provided to ministers.
Can I find
Ministerial and Executive Support Branch
will be running a number of information sessions
in the lead up to the election. A website to
help understand what Defence’s responsibilities
are during the caretaker period will be available
shortly on the Defence intranet homepage
http://intranet.defence.gov.au and to provide
helpful examples of situations from previous
caretaker periods. You will also be able to email
your queries to Caretaker.Advice@defence.gov.au
...the Government is still
the Government but the rules
change slightly as the caretaker
conventions come into operation.
The Defence science
facilities at Scottsdale in
Tasmania have received a
$12.6m funding boost from
the Federal Government
for the development of
important upgrades to pilot
food production facilities,
and chemistry and nutrition
The Minister for Defence Science and
Materiel, Greg Combet, announced the
funding boost in early June saying new
facility upgrades cemented the critical
role DSTO Scottsdale plays in meeting
the nutritional needs of the Australian
Defence Force (ADF).
“The Scottsdale Defence Nutrition and
Food Science facilities are an important part
of the Australian Defence Force’s research
arm,” Mr Combet said.
The DSTO Scottsdale research facility
determines appropriate nutrition, food
and feeding regimes to enable the ADF
to perform to the highest level. Its research
and development efforts integrate chemistry,
food technology, microbiology and nutrition,
with a specialised food facility.
Works include the redevelopment of
the food technology facilities, upgrades to
existing chemistry and nutrition laboratories,
and improvements to working areas.
The aim of the project is to address
inadequacies in existing facilities,
including existing infrastructure, work
flows, occupational health and safety,
and functionality issues.
DSTO Scottsdale was established in 1954
and is the only facility within Australia to
both produce food and undertake research
into the nutritional value of ration packs and
rationing systems used by the Australian
DSTO Scottsdale focuses on research
and development in the areas of nutrition
for performance enhancement and the
development of improved rations and
rationing. It also produces specialised food
items for ADF combat ration packs, including
freeze-dried, vacuum-sealed meals.
Construction is expected to be complete
by October 2012.
Government green lights
food science facility
Food research at
Scottsdale – a brief history
On 17 September 1951, a cost estimate of 62,710 pounds
was submitted to Federal Cabinet for a research annex
to be built next to Dewcrisp, in Scottsdale and the
expenditure was approved in May 1952.
Work began in May 1953 and after numerous delays
with materials and equipment, the building was ready
for operation in May 1954. In July that year, work began
on the compressibility of vegetables with Mr Lance
Strickland as the first officer in charge.
At the end of 1958, the annex became the Army Research
Laboratories, administered by Army as a research station
for the further development of ration packs. This role
also included research and development for Navy and Air
Force. Lieutenant Jeff Fairbrother was appointed acting
officer-in-charge. There were four permanent staff and
casual staff were contacted as required.
The administration block was added in 1965 and a large
experimental processing wing, boiler room and laundry
were completed in 1970. The establishment was renamed
the Armed Forces Food Science Establishment (AFFSE) in
1971. By this stage there were 32 staff and Dr Raymond
Hutchinson was the director. A pilot freeze dryer was
installed in 1972.
Dr Ross Richards became director in 1974. A re-
organisation of services within Defence resulted in
a single Defence Science Division in 1975 and AFFSE
became part of the science laboratories and trials division
in the Defence Science and Technology Organisation
(DSTO). Staffing levels were at 34 – the all-time high.
In 1977 a large prefabricated store was added, and in
1980 new laboratories were added for nutrition, chemistry
and microbiology. Staffing levels were at 28, including
three Army positions.
As part of Defence’s Commercial Support Program (CSP)
the now-named MRL Tasmania was the successful
in-house tender in 1994 and established a five-year
contract. Staff numbers were reduced to 16 (from 24) and
Dr Graham Driver was appointed as manager. Yet another
name change in 1996 saw the formation of the Defence
Nutrition Research Centre.
In mid 2000, the establishment was formally
removed from the Commercial Support Program
and the now-named DSTO Scottsdale and the 14 full-time
staff continue to provide research and development in
food science and nutrition and quality specialised food
products to the Australian Defence Force.
ABOVe: Dried foods at DSTO Scottsdale ready
for packaging and delivery to hungry soldiers.
BeLOW: The DSTO Annex in the late 1950s.
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