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Tuesday, 17 February 1987
Page: 25

(Question No. 1475)

Senator Newman asked the Minister representing the Minister for Defence, upon notice, on 11 November 1986:

(1) Can the Minister advise why it is that single defence personnel without family who do not live in defence accommodation are not being allowed full removals on posting, and why it is that single public servants without family who live in private accommodation are allowed full removals on posting.

(2) Can the Minister advise what action it is intended to take to see that this discrimination against single defence personnel without family is removed.

Senator Gareth Evans —The Minister for Defence has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1) and (2) Living-in accommodation is provided for members without family at most Defence establishments throughout Australia. Because this accommodation is, by necessity, communal and, in most instances, shared with several other members, it is a sheer impossibility to provide such members with sufficient space to house all desired personal belongings other than items such as TVs, sound systems, small items of furniture, sporting gear and hobby items. Members without family may have these effects moved at public expense on posting.

Where living-in accommodation is not available for Defence Force members without family they are provided with an allowance so that they are not financially disadvantaged and, if they move from this situation to the same situation in another locality, are granted a full removal on the same basis as the APS officer or an ADF member with family.

Where a member chooses not to live in the accommodation provided, the effects that will be removed at public expense on posting are restricted to those which would be approved to move if the member had been living in Defence accommodation. To do otherwise would be discrimination against the member living-in.

The Commonwealth does not provide Defence-type living-in accommodation for single members of the APS. Single members, like married members, are required to provide their own accommodation. When moved from one locality to another the members are required to rent or buy accommodation on the open market and, as the Commonwealth has no control over an APS member's accommodation tastes, it is not unreasonable that all personal belongings should be removed.

As living-in accommodation is provided by the Commonwealth for Defence Force members without family but not for single APS members, Defence Force members who choose not to live in the Defence accommodation cannot be compared with APS members who are required to provide their own accommodation. Accordingly, there is no discrimination against Defence Force members without family in respect of removal entitlements on posting.

Note: The Defence Force does not use the terms `married' and `single'; members are classified as being with or without family. For removal purposes `family' broadly embraces one or more of the following: spouse or de facto spouse, a child under 21 years of age, a parent of either partner, a guardian or housekeeper for a child or invalid spouse, or any other person as approved.