On 16 August 2017 the Defence Force Remuneration Tribunal (DFRT) sat to consider the Offer made by the Commonwealth and ADF for the ADF Workplace Remuneration Arrangement (WRA) 2017-2020. Basically, the Offer called for an annual increase in ADF Remuneration of 2% per annum in each of the three years.
That revised Offer followed extensive national lobbying by the DFWA which argued against the initial Offer that included “offsets” including loss of leave entitlements for ADF members. DFWA was vehemently opposed to the concept of offsets and as a direct result of our lobbying and the national outcry that resulted, the Commonwealth and ADF submitted a new Offer for the Tribunal to consider, which deleted any reference to Offsets.
DFWA then advised the Tribunal that:
a. The proposed new 2/2/2% offer was at best marginally acceptable, as on the (then) current projections it would in all probably result in a diminution of spending power for most ADF families, and particularly for those on lower pay grades.
b. We were disappointed to see that the Government had pursued a strategy of providing less than the (then) current Treasury forecast for CPI and WPI movement. We believed that, in time, such an approach would only make it more difficult for Defence to recruit and more particularly, to retain the high-quality people it needed in a technological age.
c. Because this matter had been brought pursuant to section 58KD of the Defence Act (see explanation below), the Tribunal’s authority in considering the matter was significantly reduced – that is, it could only give effect to the WRA, or could reject it entirely. We made the point that we did not believe rejection would be in the best interests of ADF members, and we therefore offered our reluctant support for the Offer.
Accordingly, the three year (2017-2020) WRA for the ADF gave ADF members a 2% pa wage increase for each of those three years, but without any offset or reductions of ADF member conditions of service or entitlements.
SO WHATS GOING TO HAPPEN IN 2020 ?
Defence will start development of a new Arrangement during 2020, with a view to having it in place by the time the current 2020 WRA expires. DFWA will again monitor the development of what the Commonwealth and ADF may offer, and represent the interests of members of the ADF at the DFRT.