ADA partners with the Australian Kookaburra Kids Foundation for a heartfelt initiative: The official launch of DIGGER: The plushie pup with a purpose

Today, ADA proudly announces a unique collaboration with the Australian Kookaburra Kids Foundation (AKKF), an organisation committed to empowering young people to thrive beyond the impacts of family mental illness; together, they are set to unveil and welcome ‘DIGGER’, the Plushie Pup with a Purpose.

DIGGER represents the commitment of ADA and AKKF to support the mental health and well-being of young individuals across Australia. With every plushie purchased, all proceeds will directly support the AKKF programs which supports the unique needs of young people from current and former Australian Defence Force (ADF) families. Through ADA’s longstanding partnership with AKKF, this initiative marks a significant stride in recognising the invaluable service of both human and four-legged heroes.

ADA is a proud founding partner of the Kookaburra Kids program. ADA’s contributions help Kookaburra Kids support young people who have family members protecting and serving our community on the front line.

Renée Coffey, CEO of Australian Kookaburra Kids Foundation, expressed her enthusiasm about the partnership, stating, “We are so excited to continue our partnership with Australian Defence Apparel. To date, ADA has generously contributed $75,000 to Australian Kookaburra Kids Foundation programs, providing crucial support to young people in families impacted by mental illness. Along with ADA’s unwavering support of Kookaburra Kids, this initiative marks a significant step forward in recognising the invaluable service of our heroic four-legged soldiers, who stand alongside their courageous human counterparts. We have eagerly anticipated the launch of this new endeavour in 2024, envisioning DIGGER, a beloved mascot, bringing joy to the hearts of many fortunate young people.”

Chris Dixon, CEO of Australian Defence Apparel echoed these sentiments, stating, “DIGGER embodies ADA’s commitment to supporting the mental health and well-being of young individuals across Australia and this initiative is a testament to our ongoing commitment to supporting young people from defence families facing adversity. Through the DIGGER Plushie Program and our partnership with AKKF, we aim to make a meaningful difference in the lives of these courageous individuals and provide a beacon of hope for children navigating difficult circumstances. We are proud to be a founding partner of the Australian Kookaburra Kids Foundation, and honoured to present DIGGER as a conduit for raising funds that empower young individuals.” remarked Chris Dixon.

ADA’s Jason Semple remarked “Early intervention with a focus on the provision of psychological and resilience measures, are essential tools for emotional regulation, which in turn provide proven cognitive avenues that allow our kids to transform post traumatic events into ‘post traumatic growth’.

Teaching our kids to harness the effects of adversity in a manner which promotes positivity and long term healthy psychological pathways, will promote resilience & happiness now and as they transition into adulthood.” he says.

The launch of DIGGER the Plushie German Shepherd marks the beginning of a journey filled with compassion and solidarity. ADA and AKKF remain steadfast in their commitment to fostering a brighter future for generations to come.

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Breaking Boundaries: Australian Defence Apparel and Indigenous Design Labs Forge Pathways for Indigenous Youth in Uniform Design and Production

Australian Defence Apparel (ADA) proudly announces an industry-first collaboration with Indigenous Design Labs (IDL), marking a significant milestone set to champion and showcase Indigenous youth creativity and community engagement.

Chris Dixon, CEO of ADA, emphasised the significance of this collaboration within the Defence and manufacturing sectors, stating, “This pioneering partnership not only represents a groundbreaking endeavour in crafting new apparel, but also underscores ADA and IDL’s commitment to driving positive change and fostering cultural appreciation within Australia’s apparel manufacturing landscape, aligning closely with ADA’s Reconciliation Action Plan. Through innovative design, community engagement, and social responsibility, ADA and IDL are poised to set new standards for inclusive practices.”

Phase one of the collaboration will see IDL creating modern and contemporary print artwork applicable to uniforms , bringing a fresh aesthetic to ADA’s warehousing and manufacturing operational crew .

Phase two of the collaboration will launch an 8-week training program, integrated into a real-world uniform development project, where IDL youth will collaborate with ADA designers to develop a new clothing range from concept to prototype and manufacturing. The launch will coincide with Closing the Gap Day on 21 March 2024, amplifying the initiative’s significance and sparking conversation around social cohesion and economic empowerment.

Leigh Harris, Indigenous business owner of ingeous studios and IDL Founder highlighted, “Indigenous Design Labs consist of a team of young creatives focusing on abstract and contemporary designs that reflect a diverse representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures. We view every opportunity as a chance to contribute to and expand upon the ongoing narrative of Indigenous design.”

Sheree Jacobs, IDL Torres Strait Mentor, added, “We are passionate about ensuring equal opportunities for individuals in regional areas. Partnering with a significant organisation such as ADA, not only grants access to urban opportunities but also empowers us to showcase what is possible. This collaboration enables regional youth to access opportunities previously out of reach, breaking down barriers and paving the way for a brighter future.”

Casey Demko, Designer at ADA, who is leading the partnership, shared her insights: “Growing up in rural Victoria, I was really excited about this partnership with IDL. I understand, first-hand, the difficulties faced by young Australians wishing to pursue creative career paths and the lack of industry partnerships available to remote communities, which can be really empowering for young people . This program will be a platform to connect indigenous and non-indigenous communities through clothing and art, representing ADA’s commitment to driving meaningful change and nurture diversity and inclusion amongst the wider community whilst representing ADA’s values and commitment to meaningful change.”

Mel Suares, Lead Design Manager at ADA, expressed her enthusiasm for the partnership, stating, “The ADA and Indigenous Design Labs partnership connects our shared desire to shake up the clothing industry while amplifying the voices of young and diverse Indigenous creators. We are thrilled that these talented designers will be recognised for their exceptional work, which will soon be available for all of our local makers, teams, and broader community. This collaboration represents an exciting new frontier for young artists, opening up conversations that support Indigenous youth and create a world of possibilities for their future.”

Chris Dixon, CEO of ADA, says, “This initiative not only provides valuable paid creative work and mentorship opportunities for young First Nations people but also injects funding into creating real-world opportunities for them to activate their creativity and upskill in the digital and creative design space.”

Sizing collation and fitting for ADA team members are set to occur in mid-May 2024, with final orders set for delivery to ADA HQ by mid-August 2024. The eagerly awaited launch event to celebrate this transformative collaboration will see the Indigenous youth creatives and mentors being flown down to Melbourne from Far North Queensland at the end of August 2024.

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ADA Steps Forward: Unveiling a Comprehensive Modern Slavery Statement for a Fairer Future

At ADA, we understand that modern slavery is a complex and evolving challenge that requires our proactive engagement. This statement reflects the efforts we have made to prevent, identify, and mitigate the risks of modern slavery within our business and throughout our supply chain. It also highlights the areas we have identified where we can make improvements and have an impact within our industry.

The exploitation of human beings for financial gain continues to persist in various forms and across diverse industries. ADA recognises the risks within our industry and the significance of our role in combatting Modern Slavery. This Modern Slavery Statement is our fourth under the Australian Modern Slavery Act 2018 (Cth) and sets out the actions ADA has taken to understand and mitigate our modern slavery risks during our 2022 – 2023 financial year from 1st June 2022 to 31st May 2023. It is a reflection of our dedication to addressing modern slavery risks within our operations and supply chains, as well as our commitment to fostering a society where every individual can live a life of freedom and dignity.

There has been little change to the company structure, our operations and our supply chains during this reporting period. Therefore, these sections of this statement closely resemble those from the FY 21-22 Statement, with updates to numbers and statistics as required.

In this Modern Slavery Statement, we have outlined the steps we have taken, the progress we have achieved, and our ambitions for the future. We commit to regularly reviewing and enhancing our strategies, practices, and outcomes as we continue to develop our ethical sourcing program and modern slavery framework to combat modern slavery within our supply chain.

There is still much work to be done.

➡️ Click here to view our latest Modern Slavery Statement:

Chris Dixon

CEO, Australian Defence Apparel

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Industry praises troops as Legacy torch relay passes Bendigo

The Australian defence industry has paid tribute to defence personnel, frontline workers, and the efforts of Legacy Australia as the Legacy Centenary Torch Relay 2023 passes through Bendigo in Victoria.

The six-month Legacy Centenary Torch Relay travelled through Bendigo on Thursday, 21 September, with runners attending the Bendigo Legacy Club as one of the 45 Legacy Club locations on the journey before concluding in Melbourne on 13 October this year.

The relay aims to raise more than $10 million to support the families of Australian Defence Force men and women who lost their lives or health in conflict.

Australian Defence Apparel (ADA) chief executive officer Chris Dixon spoke at the conclusion of the Bendigo leg of the relay.

“We have clothed millions of personnel, and the needs of our frontline workers are at the heart of everything we do,” he said at the event.

“It has been humbling to work with Legacy, who are equally as dedicated to our national heroes and been at the forefront of caring for the families of those who have fallen.

“It is an extremely unique privilege but also seems natural that we have supplied uniforms for each of the 1,500 plus torch bearers participating in the Legacy Centenary Torch Relay.

“Just as we have done for those on the frontlines, we have designed and tailored these uniforms to ensure optimum comfort, style, and performance, as they have been supporting our torch bearers in the 55,000-kilometre journey from France to Australia.”

ADA, a corporate partner of Legacy Australia, has designed, manufactured and supplied the uniforms for over 1,500 torch bearers for the Legacy Centenary Torch Relay 2023. The company’s 5,775-square metre dedicated uniform manufacturing facility in Bendigo produces more than 600,000 garments per year and employs more than 120 textile specialists.

ADA head of design and product development manager Melinda Suares said it originally took around five months from initial design concepts to deliver the Torch Relay uniforms.

“It is a true honour to have personally worn a uniform that I designed alongside ADA CEO Chris Dixon to represent ADA as torch bearers for the Bendigo leg of the relay, at a place where Bendigo holds so much significance for ADA,” Suares said.

“The key element of the design was showcased through a sublimated print. The centenary torch logo was an essential part of this uniform design, incorporating the red and blue hues from the logo.

“The design is then complimented with intertwining strips that emerge upon the Legacy logo on the chest.

“The light green and blue stripes form two helping hands, which touch the end of the torch relay logo. This represents (the) unity and harmonious help both Legacy and Defence Health do to support veterans and their families with stability, guidance, and care.

“It was about capturing the true essence of Legacy and what the foundation was all about. Understanding the meaning behind the 100-year centenary torch relay was important in the initial design concept stage.”

Robert Doherty – Defence Connect

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