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.