Statement by Chief of Navy Vice Admiral Tim Barrett on deaths at HMAS Stirling
8 April 2015
Navy acknowledges the ABC 730 report into the deaths at HMAS Stirling between 2011 and 2012. Navy again offers its sympathy to those who have been affected by these tragic losses.
At the time of the incidents Navy initiated a mandatory intervention that required all Bosun Mates to attend a suicide awareness program as well as briefs from Navy Chaplains and the Alcohol and Drug Program Advisor.
In the intervening period, Navy has revised procedures for alcohol management at all bases and enforced random testing procedures for both alcohol and illicit drugs in an effort to deter their abuse. One in four sailors at HMAS Stirling are tested regularly and in the past four years positive results have accounted for less that 2 per cent. Despite these low figures Navy remains vigilant given community concerns over the increased use of the illicit drug known as ice.
Navy will review the previous action taken in managing these sailors. The allegations made by Ms Livingston in the program will also be investigated.
Navy acknowledges Mr Addison’s concerns about disclosure of information relating to self harm. However, Navy and the Australian Defence Force are bound by the same laws regarding patient confidentiality that apply to all medical practitioners with respect to disclosing confidential medical information.
We encourage any person who feels they require support with a mental health issue to contact Defence Support services on 1800 IM SICK (1800 467 425), the All-Hour Support Line on 1800 628 036 and the Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) located throughout Australia.