The Workplace Remuneration Arrangement (WRA) is the framework through which annual salary and salary-related allowance adjustments are provided for ADF members, and forms part of the total remuneration package.
The WRA impacts some payments to veterans by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, such as those received under the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004 (MRCA) and Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation (Defence-Related Claims) Act 1988 (DRCA) that are linked to ADF salaries and allowances.
The current WRA (2017-2020) is due to expire in November 2020. The current WRA consisted of a 2% increase per annum, over the three years of the arrangement.
A New Arrangement
Defence will start development of a new arrangement during 2020, with a view to having it in place by the time the current WRA expires. The Defence Force Welfare Association will again monitor the development of what the Commonwealth and ADF may offer, and represent the interests of members of the ADF at the Defence Force Remuneration Tribunal.
The Defence Force Welfare Association is an authorised intervener at the Defence Force Remuneration Tribunal.
The Defence Force Remuneration Tribunal is an independent statutory body established pursuant to the Defence Act 1903. Matters referred to the Tribunal are typically considered in one of two ways: pursuant to Section 58H of the Act, or pursuant to Section 58KD of the Act.
Section 58H allows the Tribunal to inquire into and determine the salaries and relevant allowances to be paid to members, or in respect of other matters brought before it. A matter referred under Section 58H therefore allows the Tribunal to either accept, reject, or change it according to their own consideration. In this way the Tribunal’s powers are not limited: it may agree to the proposal brought before it, or dismiss it, or determine changes to it.
By contrast, Section 58KD of the Act states the Tribunal may, in making a determination, only give effect to any agreement reached between the Parties (that is, the Minister (acting on behalf of the Commonwealth) and the CDF (acting on behalf of all ADF members), or reject it. The Tribunal has no authority to change the proposal or make other Determination in its consideration.. This significantly limits the Tribunal’s authority.
Historically, Workplace Remuneration Arrangements are always brought to the Tribunal as matters agreed between the Parties, and so are typically the only occasions where Section 58KD is used.
Finally, Section 58B refers to those matters that the Minister can directly control, and are outside the jurisdiction of the Tribunal. In this case it refers to matters relating to changes that the Department of Defence can levy on members – such as GRS, rations and quarters, etc.