Conditions Of Service

One of DFWA's roles is to advocate improved conditions of service for ADF members and their families.  Our formal involvement in CoS matters involves us as:
- an intervener at the Defence Force Remuneration Tribunal; and
- as the “Defence Employee Representative” on the Public Safety Industry Reference Council sponsored by Australian Industry Skills (AIS). AIS manages nationally ecognized competency standards and qualifications for Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments; Local Government; Defence, Fire, Police, emergency services and management and marine rescue; and Correctional services.
In addition we advocate directly with the Department of Defence / ADF on individual matters of concern that any members brings to our attention.
More topical CoS matters are also discussed in our magazine Camaraderie, especially in our "Cpl Cosmo" articles.

ADF members or their families are invited to bring any ADF Conditions of Service matters to the attention of our Vice President, Conditions of Service.  Your anonominity is assured.

19 February 2018 - Defence Housing Chargers.  Recently-released Defence Determination 2018/10 dated 19 Feb 2018 seeks to refund a small overcharge incurred by serving members whom chose to occupy a Service Residence above their rank group eligibility, during 2014, 2015 and 2016.  Please see the Defence Determination for details if you chose to occupy housing above your rank group eligibility.

14 December 2017 - ADF CHARGES: WE LOOKED AND HERE IS WHAT WE FOUND !  On 9 December 2017, the DFWA announced that it will be closely watching the Annual Defence Review of housing contributions and allowances. The DFWA has reviewed the now released Defence Determinations 2017/41 and 2017/42, released on 14 December 2017, which details the changes that will be reflected in ADF members’ pay on 8th Feb 2018. The following are its major announcements:

  • As suspected, rates of contribution for Living-in accommodation will increase by 0.5% in line with the ‘rents’ sub-component of the CPI (in the 12 months to Sep 2017).
  • As anticipated, fortnightly member contribution for utilities (for Living-in members), will increase by 8.9% - again in keeping with movement of the ‘utilities’ sub component of the CPI.
  • Water contribution charges were not included, therefore we assume there is nil change to the fortnightly charge for members occupying service residences (married quarters), currently $20.20.
  • Fortnightly rental contributions for Service residences will increase between 0.9% and 4.3%.  As mentioned in the DFWA media release, rents change according to local rental markets.
  • UNEXPECTEDLY, the member contribution rate for Fortnightly meal charges has increased abhorrently from $180 to $195 .. 8.3% increase!  This in comparison to the change for the Food and non-alcoholic beverages sub-component of the CPI which was a -0.7% decrease in the 12 months to Sep 2017.
  • The Determination also amends fortnightly food allowances payable to members when between postings in temporary accommodation and for members with dependants (unaccompanied) receiving fortnightly food allowance.  In this Determination, food allowances paid to members have decreased by 0.7%, in line with the CPI.

The DFWA is puzzled by the inconsistency in the above two matters and asks how such a blatant inconsistent application of the CPI, to the detriment of ADF members, can be justified.

  • Finally, when Defence is paying a food or meal allowance, the Food and non-alcoholic beverage sub-component of the CPI is used to adjust the rate of payment. Based upon the September 2017 CPI figures, members may anticipate a slight reduction in meal allowance rates when they are next adjusted in the New Year.


1.            Defence Determination 2017/41, Review of housing contributions and allowances – amendment

2.            Defence Determination 2017/42, Living-in accommodation – amendment

3.            6401.0 – Consumer Price Index, Australia, Sep 2017

9 December 2017 - ADF HOUSING AND ACCOMMODATION CHARGES: THE DFWA IS WATCHING !  Following on from the recent 2% wage increase give to ADF members, the DFWA has reviewed the CPI changes for the SEP 2017 Quarter and can advise that the following information is likely to be reflected in the 2018 Annual review of Housing and Accommodation Charges.   A DEFGRAM outlinig the new charges is expected to be released to ADF members, we believe about 18 DEC 17.

RENT. Charges for occupying a Service Residence and Rental Allowance are assessed according to valuation of local properties. The amount of change varies between locations, based on movements in local rental markets. DFWA is not able to indicate with any amount of certainty how rent bands may be adjusted.

UTILITIES. In line with substantial increases in cost of domestic energy that came into effect 1 July 2017, the Fortnightly Contribution for LIA Utilities (Electricity, Water, Sewerage and Gas), may be expected to increase by 8.8%.

FOOD.  The food component of the CPI has decreased slightly in the 12 months to Sep 17 and so members should anticipate a decrease of 0.6% in their fortnightly food allowances.  This will effect members with dependants (unaccompanied) and is likely to be extended to other food-related allowances published in the Pay and Conditions Manual (PACMAN).  Living-In members can expect their fortnightly meal charges to remain steady.

WATER. The most recent adjustment to the fortnightly water contribution charge for a member living in a Service Residence was a 3.8% decrease (from $21.00 to $20.20).  The charge for water that DHA passes onto Defence does not necessarily reflect changes in the CPI.

DFWA COMMENT.  Again, DFWA cannot say with any certainty when People Policy & Employment Conditions (Defence People Group) will release the changes.  In the past couple of years, despite working from CPI figures published in October, they have been announced close to or immediately after the commencement of the ADF Period of Operational Standby (POS) – commonly known as Christmas Stand-down.  This year the POS commences 23 December. 

We believe it should not take eight weeks to pull the relevant figures from the Bureau of Statistics and advise ADF members of the new charges before they proceed on POS.

Also, we understand that there is a six-week period required between the publication of the new rates and the commencement of the new rates.  DFWA will keep on close eye on this.

Final Comment:  on 30 November the DFWA alerted the Department of Defence that the above information would be released on 9 December, and invited comment / feedback.   To date, no response was received.


Some related articles of interest (prior to 2012) are shown below.  More current matters will be added to this page in the coming months.

16 June 2011 Canberra Times
June 16, 2011 Privacy fears spark call for crackdown
283 Update - April 2014
Fair Indexation Promise Delivered – Seniors Health Card – Orphans of Soldiers
5 September 2013 Northern Services Courier
September 05, 2013 Veterans tired of living with broken promises (page 4)
4 September 2013
Open Letter to Prime Minister
24 August 2013 The Australian
August 24, 2013 Minister targeted by ex-servicemen over pension rate
16 August 2013 Valley Weekender
August 16, 2013 On the Hustings (page 11)
15 August 2013 The Australian
August 15, 2003 Call for overhaul of living index (page 4)
14 August 2013 Island & Mainland News
August 14, 2013 Government is 'playing politics': Weekes
7 August 2013 Canberra Times
August 07, 2013 ADF Pension Injustice
Palmer United Party – Veterans Affairs Policy – August 2013