A HIGH-powered group of war veterans organisations has added its weight to calls for the government to reverse a decision to grant military personnel a paltry 1.5 per cent pay rise.
The coalition of 12 groups working under the banner of the National Roundtable of Defence and Ex-Service Members Associations has backed calls by the RSL, the Defence Force Welfare Association and the Labor Opposition for Prime Minister Tony Abbott to revisit thedefence pay issue.
“The recent pay decision which purportedly ‘in no way reflects the value that the Government
places on ADF personnel’ is but one of a number of decisions in the employment package for
ADF members which have the effect of reducing the value of their total remuneration in a
time of rising living costs,” the veterans groups said.
The push comes ahead of a rally in the garrison city of Townsville this weekend when apetition condemning the pay rise by change.org that has more than 22,500 signatures will be circulated before it is sent to Canberra.
The roundtable includes the War Widows Guild, Vietnam Veterans Association, SAS Association,
Australian Peacekeepers and Peacemakers Veterans Association, Australian Federation of Totally and Permanently Incapacitated Ex-Service Men and Women and Legacy Australia Council.
They have asked Prime Minister Tony Abbott to immediately intervene on the military pay and pension payments.
The veterans coalition has also demanded action on the budget decision to link veteran disability and war widow pensions to inflation.
“This will hit our disabled veterans hard and particularly our most disabled veterans who are totally and permanently disabled and rely on the Veterans Special Rate Disability Pension for their compensation payments,” the group said.
“Implementing this decision would reverse a hard won concession legislated for with cross party support by the Australian Parliament in 2007.”
They have asked Mr Abbott to immediately intervene to protect the living conditions of troops and veterans.
The veterans also want the government to implement a system that keeps military wages on a par with inflation and to ensure that charges such as married quarter rent, uniform and ration charges are not increased by more than 1.5 per cent a year.
They have also demanded a fairer wage fixing system for troops based on an “agreed case” to avoid secret deals so the ADF and Commonwealth positions can be argued in open proceedings before the Defence Force Remuneration Tribunal.
Mr Abbott and the junior Defence Minister Stuart Robert have repeatedly said the 1.5 per cent pay rise decision was not negotiable.