Army reservists who may have had their civilian work hours cut or lost their jobs altogether will get access to more reserve days under a federal government plan.
The extra 210,000 reserve days are part of a $1 billion package unveiled by Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Wednesday to boost the defence industry as the economy struggles with the coronavirus-driven recession.
There will also be targeted recruitment to bolster the 27,000-strong ADF Active Reserve.
The plan includes measures to improve job opportunities for current and former ADF personnel and their families, a $300 million national estate works program, $190 million in brought-forward works in the Northern Territory, and funding for industry grants, skilling and cyber training.
“Like much of the economy, our local defence industry is doing it tough because of COVID-19,” Mr Morrison said.
“We want to build our sovereign industrial capabilities and Australian workforce to keep our people safe.”
Defence Industry Minister Melissa Price told parliament most of the work under the plan would be done in regional areas, with a key focus being areas impacted by bushfires.
Ms Price said the government was also seeking to encourage businesses to tender for defence work by improving the speed in which it paid billions of dollars in invoices.