The Defence Force Remuneration Tribunal (DFRT) will today consider the Abbott Government’s request to cut the real wages of uniformed Australian Defence Force personnel.
Over the past three years, ADF wages have increased by an average of 3 per cent every year. The Abbott Government has halved this and only offered 1.5 per cent – well under inflation.
The Government is also proposing to permanently take away compensatory Christmas and Recreation Leave from our service men and women.
Labor is deeply disturbed that the Abbott Government is determined to cut the real pay of our soldiers, pilots, seamen and other uniformed personnel, despite Assistant Minister for Defence Stuart Robert saying in 2011 that it was ''outrageous'' to make a pay offer below inflation.
Worse still, families of service members have told Labor that leave provisions are vital in helping them manage the enormous strain placed on families by the lengthy periods spouses are required to be absent from the home and the extra hours of service for which they receive no overtime or rostered days off.
Without the existing options the family life for service members could suffer unacceptably and lead to greater rates of members leaving the ADF.
I have written to the President of the DFRT Anne Harrison overnight asking that today she consider the strong submission of the Defence Force Welfare Association (DFWA), which calls for a fair go for our uniformed personnel.
The DFWA’s survey of ADF members has attracted over 11,000 responses to date, with over 90 per cent expressing their outrage and high level of disappointment over the position of the government. This is significant as ADF members are unable to vote in these processes.
Our Defence Force shouldn’t have to fight the Abbott Government for fair pay and acceptable leave – it shouldn’t have to come to this.
The Abbott Government should respect our ADF personnel and offer a better deal, especially at a time when so many are deployed overseas away from their families.
Australia asks our ADF personnel to defend our country and protect our national security – Labor is asking the Government to pay them properly and give them appropriate leave.
This cut to the ADF’s pay and conditions should be reconsidered immediately.
Our Defence Force should not be the latest victims of this Government’s Budget disaster.
WEDNESDAY, 15 OCTOBER 2014
MEDIA CONTACT: LEADER’S OFFICE MEDIA UNIT – 02 6277 4053
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