Advocating for Defence families

Defence Health: A Defence Partner Friendly Employer

Just about every ADF partner can relate to the employment challenges of postings. No sooner do you get yourself settled and in a satisfying job, than it’s posting time again and you’re off!

In this post, we get to hear from two women working with Defence Health, as well as the HR advisor at Defence Health. As an organisation that was established in 1953 to support ADF families with their health care, it sounds like Defence Health really does understand ADF life.

Debra Fairbanks-Smith: My role as a Defence Community Relationship Officer with Defence Health is very rewarding. I get to engage and represent a company that has the Defence community at the heart of its business.

The Defence community is a close-knit one, and everyone relates to each other because of their common bond and shared experiences. I’m very much a people person, and I enjoy and value the relationships that I build. Because of my husband’s employment, I’ve been part of this community for more than 25 years.

Defence life certainly isn’t easy and finding employment when you move regularly can be challenging. I’m fortunate to work for an organisation that not only values my experience and knowledge of the Defence community, but also understands the culture of the community.

I feel incredibly lucky that my role with Defence Health has travelled with me from my husband’s posting to Adelaide, then to Toowoomba and now to Brisbane.  It is a great organisation to work for and one that continues to support me personally and professionally.

Nicola Scully: I started with Defence Health as a Defence Community Relationship Officer back in 2017 when we were posted to Darwin. Working in this role  gave me the opportunity to develop in my chosen field of community engagement – but it also gave me the flexibility to balance the military demands placed on my family.

Working for Defence Health has set a very high standard for what I look for in an employer. I look for an organisation that values its people and invests in their development. An organisation where your experience, ideas and opinion are heard and considered at all levels of management.

When my husband medically discharged in October 2018, we made the decision to relocate to Canberra. I was sad to end my part-time role with Defence Health. After 8 months I was excited to hear about a position Defence Health had available in Canberra. I was asked to apply and I’ve been in the role ever since.

I enjoy each and every day of work and I’m passionate about serving the community that supported my family for more than 10 years.

Alex Lamborn (Defence Health HR): Here at Defence Health we have a strong focus on staff engagement and supporting a high-performance culture. We recognise that a highly engaged and motivated team not only helps us to retain fantastic people but enables us to provide a great member experience.

As one of the main recruiters for Defence Health, I have found continued success in recruiting people who have a connection to the ADF as they find it easier to connect and relate to our members. More specifically, when recruiting for our Defence Community Relationship Network, some of the best candidates I have interviewed have been Defence spouses. They truly understand the needs of our members and have an in-depth understanding of life in Defence through their own personal experiences.

If you want to work for a not-for-profit business that genuinely cares about its employees, then Defence Health is the company for you. Our team lives and breathes our service culture and our values – trust, respect, ownership, excellence and community.

Thanks to Defence Health for their support of ADF partners.

Find out more at Defence Health

Other Defence Partner Friendly Employers

Blog at