Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel could be eligible for a $50,000 bonus payment for ongoing service, as part of the Australian government’s commitment to investing in the growth and retention of a highly-skilled Defence workforce. One of the six immediate priority areas identified in response to the Defence Strategic Review is the need to both grow and retain ADF personnel.
The government is moving to immediately respond to the review by investing approximately $400 million to establish a Continuation Bonus initiative. This initiative will be available to permanent ADF members at the end of their initial mandatory period of service, who have served a minimum of four years. Near the completion of their initial contract members could be eligible for a $50,000 bonus payment if they serve another three years. The Continuation Bonus is expected to benefit approximately 3,400 ADF personnel in the first three years of the scheme. The bonus will be implemented from 2024 and reviewed after two years to ensure it is contributing to increased retention rates.
To complement this initiative, the government is also committing $2 million this financial year for a review into Defence Housing. The government recognises the challenges facing all Australians when it comes to home ownership. This is particularly prevalent for a mobile workforce such as the ADF.
The government said it is already delivering important reforms in this area, including through the $46.2 million expansion of the Defence Home Ownership Assistance Scheme, announced at the October Budget. It is clear that current Defence home ownership benefits are struggling to keep pace with the Australian property market and meet the changing needs of our service personnel and their families.
As an immediate priority Defence will:
- consider the contemporary and future housing needs of ADF members;
- review policies relating to defence residences and rental assistance against these needs, and;
- review current home ownership support benefits and policies, and identify new opportunities to encourage and enable home ownership for ADF members.
The government said it deeply appreciates those who serve in the ADF. Investing in those members and increasing the value proposition will support our service personnel ensures Australia has the defence structure and posture needed to meet our strategic circumstances.
Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Richard Marles said “When it comes to Defence our people are our greatest asset. We know Defence is facing greater challenges to recruit, retain and grow its workforce than it has for decades. The Albanese Government is steadfast in its commitment to achieving these goals, as outlined in our response to the Defence Strategic Review. There is a lot of work to be done, but these investments will be an important step towards ensuring we have the highly-skilled Defence Force needed to keep Australians safe.”
Minister for Defence Personnel, Matt Keogh said “It’s no secret that in the current low unemployment environment it is more difficult than ever to recruit and retain staff. This bonus will ensure Defence retains its greatest capability – its people.”