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Part 3: Annual report of the Defence Force Remuneration Tribunal

Purpose and nature of role

The Defence Force Remuneration Tribunal was created by the Defence Legislation Amendment Act 1984 to determine the pay and allowances of members of the Australian Defence Force, considering the special nature of Defence Force service.

The tribunal’s functions, as set out in section 58H of the Defence Act 1903, are to:

  • inquire into and determine the salaries and relevant allowances to be paid to members of the Australian Defence Force
  • inquire into and make determinations on prescribed matters that have been referred to the tribunal.

Membership of the tribunal

The tribunal consists of three members who are appointed by the Governor-General. In accordance with the relevant legislation, the President is a presidential member of Fair Work Australia and members must include a person who is experienced in industrial relations matters and a person who has been a member of the Australian Defence Force.

The composition of the tribunal at 30 June 2012 was:

  • President: The Honourable Anne Harrison
  • Members: The Honourable Arch Bevis
  • Brigadier William Rolfe AO (Ret’d).

The Hon Anne Harrison is a Senior Deputy President of Fair Work Australia, and has been a member of that tribunal and its predecessor, the Australian Industrial Relations Commission, since 1991. Before her appointment to the commission, Ms Harrison was a partner in a private legal practice; she is a law graduate of the University of Adelaide and an accredited mediator. On 9 February 2012, the Governor-General appointed Ms Harrison as President of the Defence Force Remuneration Tribunal for a period of five years.

The Hon Arch Bevis served as a member of the House of Representatives from 1990 to 2010, with particular responsibilities for defence and industrial relations. Before entering Parliament, Mr Bevis was an organiser and Deputy General Secretary of the Queensland Teachers Union and worked as a teacher. On 12 May 2011, the Administrator of the Commonwealth of Australia appointed the Hon Arch Bevis as a member of the Defence Force Remuneration Tribunal for a period of five years.

Brigadier William Rolfe graduated from the Royal Military College Duntroon in 1968 and served as a platoon commander with the 2nd Battalion in South Vietnam, where he was seriously wounded on operations. He continued his military career, serving as Director Army Legal Services and Director General Defence Force Legal Services before resigning his commission in 1992. In 1993 he joined the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Legal Practice, and in 1997 was appointed to head the Veterans’ Review Board. In 2007 Brigadier Rolfe was appointed as a member of the Repatriation Commission and member of the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission, and served as the Commonwealth Administrative Review Counsel before his retirement in July 2010. The Governor-General appointed Brigadier Rolfe as a member of the Defence Force Remuneration Tribunal for a period of three years on 29 September 2011.

The following tribunal members’ term expired in the 2011–12 reporting period:

  • The Honourable Patricia Leary, President of the tribunal
  • Rear Admiral Brian Adams AO, RAN (Ret’d).

The parties

The rights of parties to appear before the tribunal are set out in section 58K of the Defence Act. The major parties appearing before it are the Australian Defence Force and the Commonwealth. The Returned and Services League of Australia and the Defence Force Welfare Association seek leave to intervene in matters coming before the tribunal.

The Australian Defence Force (ADF) is represented by the Defence Force Advocate and the Commonwealth is represented by the Australian Public Service Commission.

Matters considered

In 2011–12, the tribunal considered 16 matters and made 13 determinations (Table 17).

Table 17: Matters considered in 2011–12
Matter no. Title Determination no. Title
* Matter 2 of 2011 was considered in the 2010–11 reporting period, although the associated determination was not approved until 6 October 2011.
2 of 2011 RAAF GSE Technicians and Retrospectivity* 7 of 2011 Salaries—Amendment
6 of 2011 Graded Officer Pay Structure 2011 11 of 2011 Salaries—Amendment—Maritime Warfare Officers and Maritime Combat Officers
7 of 2011 Graded Other Ranks Pay Structure 2011—Stores Naval Submariner 9 of 2011 Salaries—Stores Naval Submariner—Amendment
9 of 2011 ADF Workplace Remuneration Arrangement 8 of 2011 ADF Workplace Remuneration Arrangement 2011–2014
10 of 2011 Aviation Capability Allowance Review and Report back N/A No determination issued
11 of 2011 Strategic Allowance Review N/A No determination issued
12 of 2011 Senior Officer Graded Structure 1st Annual Review and Senior Officer Remuneration Arrangement 13 of 2011 Senior Officer Remuneration Arrangement 2011–2014
13 of 2011 Salaries—Amendment 6 of 2011 Salaries—Amendment
14 of 2011 Medical Officer—Procedural Specialist—Amendment 14 of 2011 Medical Officers Salaries—Specialist Officers—Amendment
15 of 2011 Salary for Chief of Joint Operations and Chief of Capability Development Group and Senior Officers Reserve Forces 10 of 2011 Salaries—Senior Officers— Amendment
16 of 2011 Combat Paramedic—Army Reserves 12 of 2011 Salaries—Combat Paramedic—Amendment
17 of 2011 Joint Battlefield Airspace Controllers—Amendment 1 of 2012 Salaries—Joint Battlefield Airspace Controllers—Amendment
1 of 2012 Supply Officer Primary Qualification—Amendment 2 of 2012 Salaries Amendment—Supply Officers Primary Qualification Pay Grade 3 Placement
2 of 2012 Separation Allowance—Amendment 3 of 2012 Separation Allowance—Amendment
3 of 2012 Salary Related Allowance Review In progress
5 of 2012 Paratrooper Allowance—Amendment 4 of 2012 Paratrooper Allowance—Amendment of Unit Titles from Forces Command to Special Operations Command

Senior Officer Graded Structure Review and Senior Officer Remuneration Arrangement 2011–2014

In December 2010, the tribunal approved the establishment of the Senior Officer Graded Structure, and in doing so set new salary points for ADF Star Ranks. In November 2011 the tribunal reviewed these salaries and approved the introduction of the Senior Officer Remuneration Arrangement, which over the 35-month life of the arrangement provided for incremental salary increases totalling 9% for ADF Star Ranks.

Graded Officer Pay Structure and Graded Other Ranks Pay Structure placements

The tribunal approved several placements within the Graded Officer and Graded Other Ranks pay structures, including:

  • Maritime Warfare and Maritime Combat Officer
  • Supply Officer Primary Qualification
  • Joint Battlefield Airspace Controllers
  • Stores Naval Submariner
  • Army Reserve Combat Paramedic.

ADF Workplace Remuneration Arrangement 2011–2014

Under section 58KD of the Defence Act, the tribunal approved the establishment of the ADF Workplace Remuneration Arrangement 2011–2014 on 28 October 2011. The arrangement provides for an increase of 9% for salaries and salary-related allowances over the life of the arrangement, with dates of effect as follows:

  • 4% effective from 10 November 2011
  • 2.5% effective from 8 November 2012
  • 2.5% effective from 7 November 2013.

The new arrangement was introduced before the Defence Collective Agreement had been finalised. Historically there is a nexus between the arrangement and Defence Collective Agreement. Accordingly, the ADF submitted that upon finalisation of the agreement, it reserved the right to reopen the matter before the tribunal should it consider there would be a significant material difference between the arrangement and the agreement. The Commonwealth agreed with the position of the ADF and the tribunal accepted the submission. The Chief of the Defence Force subsequently wrote to the tribunal, advising that the ADF does not intend to re-open the matter as it is considered that there is no substantial material difference between the arrangement and the agreement.

Commencement of the Salary-Related Allowance Review

Currently there are 17 allowances within the remit of the tribunal. These allowances primarily cover the disabilities associated with working in difficult conditions as part of normal ADF service. The tribunal is reviewing the function, purpose and application of each of these allowances. Hearings are scheduled for conclusion in late September 2012.


Inspections are generally made at the request of the parties to review work performed by ADF members.

The following inspections were undertaken in 2011–12:

  • 25–26 July 2011: Talisman Sabre (living in the field—Field Allowance)
  • 27 July 2011: HMAS Maitland and HMAS Darwin (at sea—Seagoing Allowance)*
  • 28–29 July 2011: HMAS Coonawarra (Border Protection Command Briefing)
  • 5–6 June 2012: HMAS Stirling, including inspections of HMAS Sirius, and the Submarine Escape Training Facility (Seagoing Allowance, Submarine Service Allowance and Submarine Escape Allowance)
  • 7 June 2012: Special Air Service Regiment
  • 15 June 2012: HMAS Anzac (at sea––Seagoing Allowance).

* The inspections on HMAS Maitland and HMAS Darwin were not completed.


As part of its statutory obligation to inform itself on ADF matters, the tribunal undertakes visits to ADF units, establishments and ships. These visits generally include open forums with ADF members at all rank levels and, on occasion, with spouses. Usually the meetings are informal and include a short explanation of the role and function of the tribunal, followed by a discussion period in which ADF personnel and spouses have the opportunity to raise issues or ask questions.

No visits were undertaken during the 2011–12 reporting period.

Last reviewed: 
11 May 2018