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Soldiers told "no soldier would be worse off under the new pay system".



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The Hon Bob Baldwin MP

Shadow Minister for Defence Science, Personnel and Assisting Shadow Minister for Defence

22nd October 2008

SOLDIERS TOLD

"no soldier would be worse off under the new pay system"

Following questioning today in Senate Estimates on Foreign Affairs Defence & Trade, documents were tabled detailing the Rudd Government’s cut in pay and allowances to those ADF members engaged in the ‘War Against Terrorism’ in Afghanistan, with these cuts backdated to August 2007.

The documents reveal debts incurred against our SAS of up to $30,000 leaving some of our elite troops taking home only $250 per fortnight and being forced to pay interest of 7.2% on the debt.

“I am deeply concerned about Defence’s handling of this matter which has undoubtedly caused considerable distress to our returning soldiers and their families, when I am advised the soldiers were assured they would be no worse off under the new pay system,” said Mr Baldwin.

“I call on the Minister for Defence to immediately intervene to overturn this abhorrent cut to the pay and allowances of our fighting men and women and importantly, step in without delay to protect the estates of the five brave men who have made the supreme sacrifice in active service in Afghanistan, namely Trooper David Pearce, Sergeant Matthew Locke, Private Luke Worsley, Lance Corporal Jason Marks and SAS Signaller, Sean McCarthy,” Mr Baldwin said.

“I demand the Minister investigate the issue immediately and ensure that the families of these brave men are not put through any more trauma, especially at the hands of this bureaucratic decision that has been ill-conceived and negligently applied,” said Mr Baldwin.

“The Rudd Government now needs to ensure that these families are not called upon to pay any further debt, when they have already made the greatest sacrifice.”

Media enquiries: Bob Baldwin - 0419 694 620

Electorate: PO Box 156 Raymond Terrace NSW 2324, 35 Sturgeon Street Raymond Terrace. Phone (02) 4983 1330 Canberra: Parliament House Canberra ACT 2600 Phone (02) 6277 4200

Email: bob.baldwin.mp@aph.gov.au