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Wednesday, 14 September 1983
Page: 754

Mr WHITE —I ask the Minister for Defence: In view of the Government's recent announcements concerning a review of the Defence Force retirement and death benefits scheme and the subsequent concern those announcements have caused, when is the actuarial report likely to be received by him and when is the review of that scheme likely to be completed?

Mr SCHOLES —I thank the honourable member for his question. The actuarial report is not likely to be available until the middle of next year. It will be probably eight to nine months before that report is made. Any review would take place subsequent to that event. So any serving members of the Services who are concerned about any immediate changes or any changes in retrospect can be assured that no changes will take place until that report has been received. At this stage there is no consideration in anticipation of that report. I think I can also say that no benefits which have been accrued by Service persons will be affected by any decisions which may be made in the future.

Mr Sinclair —What about the tax?

Mr SCHOLES —The Deputy Leader of the National Party apparently is not aware that the major aspect of the decision on tax was that it would not have retrospective application. There have been attempts to undermine the confidence of some people in this respect. The facts are that no person's entitlements at the time of that announcement have been changed. Any member of the Services who may be affected by tax-and that decision has not been made-will not pay tax on any element of his Service pension accrued prior to the date of the announcement of the changes in the taxation of lump sum superannuation. It is a forward application. It has no retrospective effect. I also assure the House that any changes which took place in the DFRDB scheme as a result of a review would not be made retrospective but would apply from the time of the passage of the legislation through this House.