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An independent commission for defence personnel administration

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PETER W H TE Μ PFederal Member for McPhersonSHADOW MINISTER FOR DEFENCE _MEDIA RELEASEi e r r * ■ t *; ·' * \i;P A ul—ιΑΐινΐκ.ι m i AilV Liu. L_. C. I . s.D53/88 5 June 1988 26


It is clear from the latest assault by the

Department of Finance on the Defence Force Retirement and Death Benefits (DFRDB) scheme that the Government is incapable of developing any coherent policy for the improvement of Defence Force pay, allowances and conditions

of service.

It is essential therefore that an independent commission be established to comprehensively review all aspects of personnel management, pay, allowances and conditions of service. If the high wastage rates in the Defence Force are to be halted, these matters must be addressed urgently.

The Department of Finance stated that the DFRDB scheme is too generous and in fact encourages people to leave the Services. This ignorant statement has created alarm and despondency throughout the Defence Force because it clearly signals the Government's intention to reduce this important benefit. To date, the Minister for Defence has remained silent on the subject.

The statement by the Department of Finance is also factually incorrect. The DFRDB scheme is conspicuous by its failure to keep people in the Services. In 1986-87, 73% of personnel who left the Defence Force did so before they became eligible for a pension.

The Department of Industrial Relations, rather than the Department of Defence, has responsibility under the Defence Act for referring matters to the Defence Force Remuneration Tribunal for determination. There is currently a backlog of some 100 matters within the Department of

Industrial Relations, some of which have been there for nearly two years.

Pay anomalies abound throughout the Defence Force, the worst of which mean that many junior ranks receive more pay than their seniors. This is a prime cause of

dissatisfaction as junior ranks see no point in serving on to get less money, while senior ranks see no point in

serving on and receiving less than their juniors.

The restrictive conditions surrounding education allowance are a disgrace. Disturbance allowance does not meet expenses.

Career planning hardly exists.

The list is endless.

Now we have the fiasco of the Pilot Retention Bonus which is creating even more problems. It is seen as a

desperate Government stop gap measure and is causing great division within the Services.

An independent commission to examine every aspect of personnel administration is the only way to restore some hope to all Defence Force personnel that the Government is concerned about their welfare.

062-727538, For further information contact Peter White: 075-501199, 075-324327