Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel face losing some of their leave entitlements as part of a deal that includes below-inflation pay rises.
The chief of the ADF, Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin, said the position to be taken to the Defence Force Remuneration Tribunal next week involved an annual salary increase of 1.5% during the three-year deal. The most recent official figures show inflation is running at 3%.
Binskin told ADF members it was “a fair and reasonable pay rise in the context of the government’s financial position and the clear need for wage restraint”.
He also signalled some changes to leave arrangements.
“One of the things we will offer up is one of the CDF [chief of the defence force] approved leave days over the Christmas period,” he said. “Another is the removal of extra recreation leave (ERL) provisions.
The decision, conveyed in an email to personnel on Friday, has been branded “outrageous” at a time when ADF members are risking their lives in combat operations in Iraq.
Labor and the Greens called on the government to rethink the wage offer, raising concerns that ADF personnel would be “shortchanged”.