Welcome to DFWA

Welcome to the
Defence Force Welfare Association (DFWA)

OUR PURPOSE

Our purpose is to foster the best interests and wellbeing 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 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 ADSO's aim is to promote and protect the conditions and well-being of the Defence Family, which embraces over three million people.  It involves itself in national advocacy and the taking up of issues with the Australian Parliament and all political parties.

OUR POLICY OBJECTIVES

Our policy objectives are regularly reviewed, taking into accout current issues and resources available.  Read our current (and past) objectives here.

CURRENT NEWS

as a CURRENT NEWS item becomes stale, it is transferred either to ARCHIVED CURRENT NEWS or into one of the CURRENT ISSUES (see list at left of page)

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6 August 2020 - ADF SALARIES - THE WRA - UPDATE.  DFWA thanks those who recently made comment on the proposed new Workplace Remuneration Arrangement (WRA 2020) for the ADF.  Most responses were generally in agreement with the proposed new salary arrangements, however some did make reference to what may be happening with rents on DHA housing and whether the proposed six month delay in the first 2% salary increase will (or should) impact on the Group Rent Scheme (GRS). To answer that it may be useful to first understand how the GRS process works.

The GRS is based on an annual independent market rent review of housing rentals around Australia, and generally occurs around September.  Defence is then advised by DHA of any adjustments that may be required, based on the principle of Defence covering 50% of the market cost of rents and 50% being paid by the ADF member. Defence considers the DHA advice on any rent adjustments and, should it approve the new rates, they take effect in January each year.  Members then commence paying the new adjusted rate in late February.  In most cases this has meant an increase, but a decrease can also occur should market rates decrease in the period that the independent review took place.

So what impact could the WRA make on this process in 2020 ? Fundamentally, the WRA and the GRS are not linked….. they are separate processes that will continue to run their own course.  As indicated above, it is Defence that considers the DHA advice and ultimately implements the new rates.  Defence will be cognizant of the impact of the WRA on ADF members when it considers the matter at the end of this year. 

DFWA will be making a formal submission to the Defence Force Remuneration Tribunal along the lines we previously advised, and will advise the Tribunal of concerns members have raised with the DFWA.

14 July 2020 - TAXATION OF DFRDB/MSBS CLASS A/B INVALIDITY BENEFITS PAID BY CSC

In March 2020, the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) in Brisbane upheld the objections of the three Veterans against the Australian Tax Office (ATO) treatment of their DFRDB and MSBS Class A and B Invalidity Benefits paid by the Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation (CSC). This effectively meant that the Invalidity Benefits paid by CSC should be treated as lump sum payment and not as superannuation income stream benefit, i.e., less tax to be paid.

In handing down his decision in the Douglas case, Justice Logan stated his concern about the whole process and treatment of these veterans:

“.. if the encounter in this case is any guide, to the prospect of being “broken by age and war” there must now be added for members and former members of the ADF the prospect of encounter with how we as a Nation State have come to regulate and tax the bargain struck on enlistment.”

In April, the Commissioner of Taxation lodged three separate appeals to the Federal Court against the AAT decisions and has advised Veterans the ATO will continue taxing as in the past, until the appeal process is finalised. It also encourages Veterans not to lodge objections, “promising” their rights will be protected.  

DFWA disagrees with the ATO advice and advises Veterans to complete their Tax Returns in accordance with the decision of the AAT and to exercise their right to lodge objections in line with the AAT decision.

For general advice for this Financial Year for affected Veterans and their professional tax advisor, click here.  For the detailed account of the progress of the legal proceedings with the ATO, go to Veterans Invalidity Payments and the ATO.

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