Welcome to DFWA

Welcome to the
Defence Force Welfare Association (DFWA)

OUR PURPOSE

We exist simply to foster the best interests and welfare of all members of the Australian Defence Force and their families in any matter likely to affect them during or after their period of service.

Read more about us at ABOUT / BACKGROUND

We are also a member of the Alliance of Defence Service Organisations (ADSO), which comprises many of Australia's major military ex service organisations (ESO). The Alliance represents a significant number of members of Australia's Defence Family on national advocacy and representative matters to the Australian Parliament and all political parties. Its aim is to promote and protect the conditions and well-being of the Defence Family that embraces over three million people.

CURRENT NEWS

17 October 2017 - HANSARD – QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE – VETERANS  In the House of Representatives Questions without Notice, Independent Senator Andrew Wilkie (TAS) asked the Prime Minister this question:  Mr WILKIE (Denison) (14:18): "My question is to the Prime Minister. Prime Minister, the TPI Federation has written to you repeatedly, seeking a resolution to the dreadful situation where about 28,000 totally and permanently incapacitated veterans have seen their economic loss compensation fall to just 65 per cent of the minimum wage. Prime Minister, given the gravity of this issue, and the Parliamentary Budget Office's validation of the independent analysis supporting the claim by the TPI Federation, will you now take personal responsibility and intervene to facilitate an immediate increase of $176 a week in the economic loss compensation payments to Australia's TPI veterans?"

Read the PM's reply here Hansard Reference - page 24:

 

11 October 2017: WRA DECISION. The DFRT today approved the Workplace Remuneration Arrangement (WRA) for the ADF for the three years to 2020.  The full determination is here. The key features of the WRA are that it:

a. provides for a three year duration, operating from 2 November 2017 to 11 November 2020;

b. provides an adjustment in the rates of salary and salary related allowances of 6 per cent over the life of the WRA via three annual instalments of 2 per cent;

c. applies to all ADF members of the Permanent Forces and Reserves (excluding statutory office holders);

d. applies to salary and salary related allowances;

e. does not trade off, remove or offset any conditions of service or retention initiatives to fund the arrangement or propose to do so;

f. is based solely on the performance of the ADF and has no links to productivity offsets achieved by Defence Australian Public Service in the context of bargaining; and

g. is affordable and to be funded from within Defence’s existing budget.

The DFWA made written and oral submission to the DFRT on this matter, outlining the process it undertook to engage with members and recorded that “most of the people” who sent feedback understood the current economic climate “but made valid points nonetheless to suggest the offer may be considered inadequate compared to anticipated wage growth and cost of living pressures.”

The DFWA examined forecast inflation trends for the next three years to explain their “concern for more junior members of the ADF whose dollar increase is smaller because of their lower wage” but who “are subject to the same cost increases as higher ranking members”.

In the hearing the DFWA expanded on this stating “that while those on higher pay grades will be less vulnerable to these pressures, all will find their standard of living compromised if the projected and modest CPI increases come to pass” and that “a pay increase that fails to keep pace with inflation will eventually impact on morale, retention and recruitment and will ultimately affect the ability to deliver capability.”

In summary the DFWA stated that it gives “reluctant support” to the proposed Arrangement.

10 October 2017: TAXATION CHANGES TO DFRDB/MSBS INVALIDITY PENSIONS.  Many veterans will be more than aware that among the taxation changes that came into effect on 1 July 2017, one particular one seemed to affect veterans receiving DFRDB/MSBS Invalidity Pensions.  That was because of the repeal of the 'Income Tax Assessment Regulations 1997 – Reg 995.1.03’.  The core issue appeared to be that ComSuper was incorrectly classifying an invalidity payment as a pension (and subsequently an income stream). This seems to be in direct contravention of the Superannuation Industry Supervision Regulations.

This incongruous issue was taken up by DFWA with the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, who referred the matter directly to the Australian Tax Office (ATO). The ATO’s letter in reply can be accessed here.  We are not aware of any veteran who may have taken advantage of the so-to-speak loophole before the said 'Income Tax Assessment Regulations’ repealed. What the ATO suggests is that fewer than 400 veterans had used the loophole and only started doing so following the announcement that it would be shut down.

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