Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Kerr Committee Reports on Services pay and conditions

Download PDFDownload PDF

FOR PRESS 10th December, 19 71



(Statement by the Minister for Defence, the HON. David Fairbairn,

DFC, M.P.) ' '

, The Minister for Defence, Mr. David Fairbairn, today

announced acceptance by the Government of further major

recommendations put forward by the Committee of Inquiry into

the Pay and Conditions of Service Members of the Regular Forces.

The Committee, which was appointed in October, 1970,

is headed by Mr. Justice John R. Kerr, CMG, a Judge of the

Commonwealth Industrial Court.

The Government has considered four further reports

submitted by the Committee of Inquiry:

Report No. 3 - Temporary Rental Allowance.

Temporary Accommodation Allowance.

. b

Education A l l o w a n c e .

• Report No. 4 -The Composition and Expression of

Service Pay, including the Service

. Disability Allowance.

Report No. 5 - The Removals System^including

Disturbance.Allowance. .

Report No. 6 - Officers' Salaries.

All of these reports are being published.

The Minister referred first to salaries of officers

of the Armed Services and to the principles recommended by the

Committee of Inquiry for determining them. - .

. . · ■ / .


EaTe ■ .

The salaries of^Service officers were last adjusted,.

with some exceptions, some eleven months ago (on 1st J a n u a r y , 1971)

when officers received the benefit of the 1970 National Wage Moveme

and also a flow-on of increases granted to officers of the '

Administrative and Clerical Division of the Commonwealth Public

Service varying from 9.5$ to 12$.

. 2 .

The Government has now decided to make further

adjustments in officer pay as recommended in the Report No. 6

of the Committee of Inquiry received on 6th December 1971.

With the exception of those specialists such as

particular profession, the Gomgittee of Inquiry has applied

to male Service officers its concept that they should be

regarded as members of a profession, namely the profession

of arms. Consequently, the Committee has recommended a

scale of salaries which has a broad relationship to the

salaries of other professions, including salaries of

. I professional officers in the Commonwealth Public Service,

but with no direct relationship to any specific civilian

profession. It follows that Service officer salary rates

future movements in salaries in the Administrative and "

Clerical Division of the Public Service. ■

As to the levels of salary to be applied under

this concept, the Committee recommends that there should be

a major work value study to provide data which, in the opinion

of the Committee, will assist in forming final judgments on

both salary levels and the structure and pattern of salary scales

However, as the Committee expects that a major work

value study will take some twenty months to complete., it

considered that some adjustments to the male officers' '

present scale should be made now. The scale recommended is

based on a general work value assessment by the Committee

itself and is known as the common scale for male officers.

medical and dental officers who are already/members of a

will no longer be adjusted -^according to

The new scales provide increases for all male

officers up to and including the rank of Colonel (and

equivalent rank in Navy and R.A.A.F.) other than Midshipmen

and General List Acting Sub-lieutenants in the.Navy, and . .

Medical and Dental Officers of all Services. . ■

Salaries of Medical and Dental Officers are . ·

generally higher than those of other officers and are related

to the salaries of medical officers in the Commonwealth

Department of Health. This relationship is not disturbed.

Salaries of officers of the rank of Brigadier and

Major General (and equivalent ranks) had already been increased

in recent weeks at the time of the adjustment of salaries of

Second Division officers of the Commonwealth Public Service.

The Committee recommended that at present this relationship .

should remain undisturbed, but considered that the work value

study should also be applied to the functions and responsibilities:

of officers of those ranks.

The adjustments from rank to rank differ widely

because Mr Justice Kerr's Committee came to the conclusion

that there should be reductions in the number of increments in

salary ranges and for the other reasons contained in their report.

' ■ A new and separate scale of salary is created for

male officers granted commissions from the' senior NCO ranks

in order to reward the special-experience possessed by this

group.' The scale for them merges with the common scale for ■'

male officers at the highest salary point for an Army Captain

(or equivalent rank).

Salaries of Service Chaplains have been adjusted

to retain their pre-existing relationship with those of male .

officers of the common scale. The salaries of female officers,

including nurses, have been adjusted on the same basis.

- 4-

Existing salaries and the new salaries for those

Banks affected are set out in the attached tables which also

show the new daily rates of active pay.

The Government has accepted and will put into effect

the new scales of salary and the proposal that there be a

full work Value study, . „ .

The new rates are to be effective from the 'commencement

of the next pay period. Because., of legislative requirements ,

payments can not be made until regulations are drafted and put

into effect, but adjustments will be made as soon as possible.


The pay of other rank Servicemen, as recommended by

Judge Kerr's Committee, had already been the subject of

adjustments and increases following that Committee's Reports

NoS, 1 and 2. A continuing work value inquiry in that area is




All members of the Services are affected by Reports Nos.

3 and 5 of the Committee of Inquiry, These reports refer tp family

removals and education and housing situations associated with

Service postings. They cover the financial allowances and other

provisions deemed necessary to compensate for fsequent postings

and consequental family disturbance. ·

. The Committee's recommendations to the Government

on Education Allowance - an allowance to meet the secondary educatit

costs of a child left at a former location - have been approved so

that conditions of eligibility for payment of this allowance will

be less restrictive. "

• A-new provision will permit the payment of the allowance

to a Serviceman who has been notified of a posting to a new

location and whose child, for secondary education purposes, precedes

the family to the new location.


- 5-

The Government will also arrange for the existing

Education Allowance scheme to be reviewed and for a study to

be made of the effects on the education of children of Servicemen,

at both the primary and secondary levels, that result from

frequent changes from one school to another. . .

In regard to Temporary Accommodation Allowance - an

allowance paid to cover the considerable additional costs involved

when a married serviceman and his family^who are posted to a

new location^have to live in a hotel/motel until a married

quarter or private furnished accommodation is available - the %vei

ment has approved pre-payment of part of the estimated coats that

will be involved. This approval should relieve the ember of

anxiety over the problem of meeting his hotel/motel bills which

for a large family may very quickly amoutitto hundreds of dollars.

. The Government has approved the other recommendations

in Report No. 3 relating to the conditions of Temporary Rental

Allowance - a weekly subsidy to meet the higher costs of rental

for private furnished quarters over normal rental costs. If

a review of similar allowances paid to Commonwealth Public Servants

indicates a need for any change in the scale of rental norms in the

area, an examination will be undertaken to see whether those

ehanges should also apply in the Service area. 1

The recommendations made in Report No. 5 of the Committi

of Inquiry relating to removals of furniture and effects have been

approved by the Government. These include interim, increases in

disturbance allowance - an allowance to compensate for

? ' ' /6

- 6-

miscellaneous expenses involved in transfer from one location

to another. The increased rates will apply with effect from

December 9, 1971, and payment will be made as soon as the necessary

amendments to the regulations are put into effect,, There is to be

further study of some of the provisions relating to removals and

disturbance and they will, of course, be under continuous review.


Mr. Fairbairn observed that the Committee's recommendations

now approved by the Government provided improvements in conditions

for Servicemen which the Government was confident would be of great

benefit to them and their families.

Detailed administrative procedures Λ/ill be developed for the . . »SiT .

implementation of the Government's decisions and theg- will be

promulgated to the Services as soon as possible. The provisions

relating to the payment of education allowance when a child is sent

ahead of the family will be promulgated to the Services so that

Servicemen can make arrangements for the secondary education of their

children for the school year commencing in 1972.

The Minister said that the overall costs of implementing these

further adjustments to officers' pay and improvements to conditions

of s'ervice for all ranks will be in the order of $ll-million in a

full year. But expenditure involved for the remainder of this year

will be met to the maximum extent possible from fundsnalready

allotted for Defence purposes for the financial year 1971/72.


The Minister stated that t$ie Committee of Inquiry had made a

number of observations on the principles and machinery, which in its

opinion, should govern the investigation and determination of Service

pay and conditions when the Kerr Committee goes out of existence. Th<

Government will have this most important and c®mplex issue examined

by a high level committee, but until it has received and considered

the report of that Committee, it wishes to make it clear that it is

no way committed to the views expressed by the Kerr Committee of



In Report No. 4, the Kerr Committee has commented on the

complexity of the way Service pay is made up and expressed in

monetary form. It has pointed to the inability of the Serviceman

fully to understand the pay system and correctly relate the value

of what he receives to pay rates existing in the civilian sphere wit!

which he naturally wants to make comparisons. The Committee has

therefore recommended . - · . ϊ·: r '



that Service pay he re-expressed in the form of an annual rate of

pay or salary. It recommends also that allowances and deductions

be shown separately. The Committee has further work to do on some

aspects of this rationalisation and on its other terms of

reference and further reports are expected. . .


In announcing the findings of the Kerr Committee, the

Minister recalled that, at the time of appointment of the Committe*

in October last year, the then Minister for Defence expressed the

Government's concern that a detailed and comprehensive review of s<

of the more fundamental conditions of service in the Armed Forees

be thoroughly examined.

The Minister added: " It is a matter

satisfaction to the Government that such progress has been made in

the past six months in reorganising the pay systems and liberalisii

the conditions of service of the Forces. The Government is

indebted to the Kerr Committee for its skilled and impartial

work." - .