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Wednesday, 19 August 2015
Page: 8837

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Mr ROBERT (FaddenAssistant Minister for Defence) (11:43): In summing up the debate to implement a new superannuation» accumulation scheme for ADF members on and after 1 July 2016, I will first thank all members for their contribution to the debate today, particularly the members for Forde, Ryan, Herbert, Gilmore, Bennelong, Lindsay, Hughes, Macquarie, Gippsland, Leichhardt, Dobell, Batman, Canberra, Moreton, Makin, Lingiari and Indi. I thank the whole House for the constructive debate.

I would also like to thank the Defence Force Welfare Association, the RSL and the Australian Defence Association for their valuable feedback on and support for this legislation. I again acknowledge the opposition for its support. I thank the opposition shadow ministry team for the constructive way in which we have worked together for the last 18 months to achieve what are some foundation reforms for ADF super.

The Australian government is resolutely committed to supporting Australian Defence Force members throughout their service and in their retirement. The introduction of ADF Super gives effect to the government's intent to introduce new, modern and flexible «superannuation» arrangements for people joining the ADF on and after 1 July 2016. Importantly, the bills also fix some of the longest running grievances of the veteran and ex-service community, namely a lack of flexibility in the current «military» «superannuation» scheme and the lack of portability of a member's «superannuation» benefit when they leave the ADF.

ADF Super will be a modem, fully funded accumulation «superannuation» scheme and it will, for the first time, allow ADF members to choose the «superannuation» fund they belong to. It will provide «superannuation» choice and enable ADF members to select any complying «superannuation» fund in which to invest their «superannuation» benefit, including self-managed super funds. The key is that they are complying super funds. ADF Super will apply to those joining the ADF for the first time on and after 1 July 2016; contributing «Military» «Superannuation» and Benefits Scheme—MSBS—members who choose to join ADF Super; preserved MSBS members who re-join the ADF and choose to become a member of ADF Super; and MSBS and Defence Force Retirement and Death Benefits Scheme—DFRDB—members who receive retirement pay and re-join the ADF on a full-time basis or as a reservist on continuous full-time service on or after 1 July 2016.

For clarity, and so that there is no doubt, I reiterate that current serving personnel who are members of the MSBS may opt to join ADF Super, but they will not be compelled to do so; this is a personal choice. The government recognises the unique nature of «military» service, which is why the government will provide a single employer contribution rate of 16.4 per cent to all ADF Super members. This is a generous rate, and one that is well above community standards.

Also in recognition of the unique nature of «military» service, the government will establish a new statutory death and invalidity scheme, to be known as ADF Cover. ADF Cover will be consistent with the death and invalidity arrangements currently provided to members of the MSBS. It will ensure that ADF members are properly looked after, for the rest of their life if required, in the event they are injured during ADF service.

The package of bills also facilitates the introduction of significant reforms to the ADF's future workforce model, thereby enabling a new category of flexible service for members of the permanent ADF. The introduction of flexible service arrangements will better secure the ADF's capability by encouraging skilled and experienced people to stay in the ADF longer and by promoting greater consistency in the application of formal flexible service arrangements. The package of legislation facilitates the introduction of a new workforce model and will help to ensure Defence gets the most out of its people and, more importantly, people get the most out of their Defence career. The new flexible service arrangements will balance the ADF member's needs with Defence's capability requirements.

These bills will implement important reforms, and I again thank members for their contributions. Collectively, these bills recognise the unique nature of «military service, address long-running grievances of the Defence and ex-service community and provide ADF members with peace of mind in the event they are injured while serving in the ADF. I commend the package of bills to the House.

Question agreed to.

Bill read a second time.