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Tuesday, 11 August 2009
Page: 4595


Senator Johnston asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice, on 11 March 2009:

(1) (a)   Who directed the 10 per cent audit of Special Air Service Regiment (SASR) personnel’s pay and conditions in 2008; (b) when was this directive given; (c) when did this directive come into effect; (d) how many of the audited SASR personnel were affected by this action; (e) how and when were the personnel that were adversely affected by this audit, informed of their debt; and (f) what was the amount for each debit notice that was raised against each of the audited SASR personnel.

(2) (a)   Who directed that this audit be increased to 100 per cent; (b) when was this decision made to conduct this audit; (c) when did this decision come into effect; (d) how many of the audited SASR personnel were affected by this action; (e) how and when were the personnel adversely affected by this audit, informed of their debt; (f) what was the amount for each debit notice that was raised against each of the audited SASR personnel; and (g) did this audit adversely affect any primary ECN 353 SASR troopers; if not, why not.


Senator Faulkner (Minister for Defence) —The answer to the honourable senator’s question is as follows:

(1)  

(a)   to (c). A 10 per cent audit of SASR was not conducted. Defence Force Remuneration Tribunal Determination 2 of 2008 introduced a new pay placement structure for Special Forces personnel that incorporated previous qualification and skills allowances into pay.  On implementation of the Determination in August 2008, Army began structural trials of the new pay placement for Special Forces personnel to identify anomalies in the system.  It was this trial that identified a number of personnel who did not have their recorded proficiencies within PMKeys and therefore were unable to be placed at the appropriate pay grade.  This pay grade placement incorporated the previous qualification and skills allowance.

(d)   From the pay placement trials conducted, 24 SASR troopers were found to be paid at the wrong rate of pay.  Five other soldiers at SASR were found to be in receipt of qualification and skills proficiencies that could not be justified. 

(e)   Special Operations Command informed the soldiers immediately through the chain of command.

(f)   Not all individuals affected were issued with a debt notice.  On completion of the pay placement audit, Army identified 29 personnel who were affected either by a debt notice or incorrect skill grade placement.  This is broken down individually as follows: Soldier 1     $1,109.50 Soldier 2     $6,967.69 Soldier 3     $1,710.63 Soldier 4     $1,379.52 Soldier 5     $4,726.64 Soldier 6     $1,591.75 Soldier 7     $2,244.63 Soldier 8     $2,959.18 Soldier 9     $1,347.85 Soldier 10    $2,579.19 Soldier 11    $2,268.41 Soldier 12    $2,725.42 Soldier 13    $811.46 Soldier 14    $484.45 Soldier 15    $824.19 Soldier 16    $1,842.25 Soldier 17    $2,070.67 Soldier 18    $1,206.89 Soldier 19    $12,851.13 Soldier 20    $1,132.59 Soldier 21    $3,445.02 Soldier 22    $10,079.66 Soldier 23    $2,833.72 Soldier 24    $18,322.97 Soldier 25    $8,786.09 Soldier 26    $3,986.47 Soldier 27    $6,244.16 Soldier 28    ZERO Soldier 29    $1,533.05

(2)  

(a)   and (b)  On identifying further inconsistencies resulting from the pay placement trial Special Operations Commander Australia issued Directive 01/09, dated 7 January 2009, increasing the audit to 100 per cent of Special Forces personnel.

(c)   7 January 2009;

(d)   29 personnel;

(e)   All affected members were informed via their chain of command prior to any changes being made to their pay;

(f)   This is covered by (1) (f); and

(g)   Unknown, as the Special Operations Command capability audit is not complete.