Things We Do
Many policy issues that the DFWA becomes involved with originate without warning, from Government initiatives or from external events. Our current Purpose and Policy provides further information.
Current ongoing issues include:
|Military Superannuation||Superannuation Indexation|
|FBT reportable aspects of conditions of service||War Widows’ pension offsetting|
|Defence housing and re-location policies||Offsetting of special rate disability pensions under MRCS|
|Health initiatives for Defence families||Development of support centres on Defence bases|
(More recently (December 2009), the DFWA has initiated an ESO MAJOR ISSUES PAPER which outlines the coordinated position that ESOs have on the major issues facing the Ex Service Community. The paper has been presented to government. Read the latest paper here.
Within these policy areas, the Association frequently makes representations to the Federal Government and Opposition, the Service Chiefs, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, ComSuper, Compensation Authorities and various other agencies. In this regard the Association actively defends the rights and interests of serving and former defence personnel.
The provision of advocacy services to ensure serving or former defence personnel achieve their maximum entitlements in respect of compensation, retirement or superannuation is an important Association task, and many seek our assistance for which there is no charge. All our advocates are trained and accredited by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and provide their services voluntarily. An article “Advocacy Matters”, recently published in Camaraderie, gives an example of this advocacy with pointers for members to achieve their full entitlements.
The Association has established Defence Widows Support Groups in the ACT and Western Australia that provide support and services to defence widows with whom we have been able to establish contact. There are informal support groups in the other states and each state office can provide contact information. For useful advice to save your partner grief and effort in the event of your death see the article “What happens to your widow when you die” in Widows’ Issues.
The DFWA is a member of the Australian Council of Public Sector Retiree Organisations (ACPSRO) which is a peak body representing Commonwealth, State and Territory retiree organisations. There are only three federal members of ACPSRO: DFWA, SCOA and NAA. The administration is done out of DFWA’s national office and there is an ongoing push for better indexing of public sector pensions (including military). Links to papers, letters and press releases on this and other matters appear on the Publications page.
DFWA was formed by service and ex-service personnel nearly 50 years ago to fight the government and the bureaucracy, on behalf of all service personnel, over the transition from the DFRB Pension Scheme to DFRDB. It successfully protected their interests during protracted discussions and negotiations with The Joint Select Parliamentary DFRB Committee formed to review the DFRB legislation and which oversaw the introduction of the DFRDB. DFWA drew the following comment from the Chairman of that Committee, Mr. John Jess CBE MP,
“It is important that every serviceman join and stay with the DFWA and have a strong voice.”
As far as we are aware this laudatory statement is unique and things have not changed! We believe that it continues to reflect our status in Defence superannuation issues.
DFWA has subsequently monitored all Service pension matters and constantly striven to have existing legislation amended to remove onerous provisions.
In view of its history, DFWA is best placed to manage the 2008 Military Superannuation Debate and intends to drive it on three levels. Firstly, and formally, we will place all factual submissions and documents on this site. Why Join Now is intended to provide an overall insight into the need for organisations such as the DFWA, and how we (and others) work to better the conditions of serving personnel.
Other documents on this website include an invitation for all readers to:
- join the DFWA,
- provide input to the debate and
- help fund our efforts, simply by joining the Association.
A joining application form and information can be found on our MEMBERSHIP page and via the brochure.
Please remember we will need your input into current matters to ensure that we are representative and reflect all views. A blog Have Your Say (currrently being developed) is being established which will form the basis of a chat room where individuals can express their opinions, no matter how far out, in an informal and unstructured way. We will monitor the blog, reply as necessary and extract and use ideas when we are developing policy and lobbying government on your behalf.
Please take the effort to understand why organisations such as ours have to exist – we are a watchdog (and even an insurance policy) and although we do not have a high profile we do have an essential place in your lives.