In addition to a competitive salary, ADF members receive a range of other allowances and benefits. These benefits, such as subsidised housing, medical and dental care, fitness facilities, and education, have a financial value. The fact is, as an ADF member, you have pretty secure employment, you won’t have to put your hand in your pocket for much, and you’ll be well looked after.
This guide will help current ADF members and leaders who want to gain a better understanding of the true value of the ADF remuneration package.
This guide will help you identify the benefits a career in Defence may afford you. Think of this guide as an introduction, not an exhaustive list, you may receive additional benefits not outlined here.
Think about the value of all the costs covered through your Defence employment, which a civilian would usually pay for out of their own pocket.
You will need a current payslip as a starting point.
We ask you to estimate some benefits yourself because we are all different, but it’s worth spending a bit of time to understand what a career in Defence is really worth.
Your pay consists of a base salary, with the addition of employment-related allowances. Your base salary can be found at the top of your payslip on the right, listed as ‘Annual salary’. If you need help reading your payslip, see the ADF guide on Pay and Allowances.
Note: From 13 May 2021, service, trainee, reserve and uniform allowances will be rolled into a single ‘Military salary’.
The earnings section of your payslip lists any allowances you receive. The amount in the ‘Current’ column is the amount you get every fortnight for each allowance. You can add allowances by typing in the name of the allowance in the ‘Add allowance’ box and clicking the + symbol.
A deployment provides some ADF members with additional allowances that are not part of regular pay. We have not included these allowances in the calculation of your remuneration package, however, you may want to take the additional deployment allowances into account if you are comparing your ADF remuneration with civilian employment.
Serving ADF members receive a range of healthcare benefits, including free medical and dental treatments, rehabilitation services, psychological support and access to fitness facilities like gyms, pools and sporting fields.
To put a value on these benefits, think about what you might be paying for if you were not an ADF member. For example, what would it cost you for private health insurance, prescriptions, physiotherapist, dentist, specialist visits, gym membership or other fitness related costs?
Medicare covers the costs of being admitted to hospital as a public patient, some of the fees charged by GPs and other medical professionals, and subsidised prescription costs for medicines listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). ADF members don’t pay the Medicare levy, currently 2% of taxable income.
Private health insurance covers some or all of the cost of a range of services not covered by Medicare, for example, a private hospital and the doctor of your choice, as well as ancillary services such as dental, optical and physiotherapy, not covered by Medicare.
As an ADF member you will usually receive subsidised housing or rental assistance if you are not living in your own home. If you buy a home to live in you may be eligible for a range of other assistance schemes.
If you are receiving rental assistance you can calculate the value by multiplying the fortnightly assistance amount by 26 to get an approximate annual benefit.
If you’re in service housing you can estimate your benefit by deducting the rent contribution taken out of your pay, from the amount of rent you would pay each fortnight for a similar property in the same area. Multiply the result by 26 to estimate your annual benefit.
Housing assistance schemes for members buying a property include the Defence Home Ownership Assistance Scheme (DHOAS), Home purchase assistance scheme (HPAS) and Home purchase or sale expenses allowance (HPSEA)
ADF members receive, statutory death and invalidity cover, and rehabilitation services if needed. To replace this cover in civilian employment, you may need to take out personal insurance, such as death, disability, trauma and income protection. The cost would depend on your age and personal circumstances but could cost thousands of dollars a year.
The ADF offers free education and training and/or study assistance schemes. If you’ve been receiving tertiary education at no cost or received any form of study assistance, consider what it might cost to continue your education outside Defence.
Take some time to think about these and any other benefits provided to you by Defence to get a better understanding of the real value of your employment package.
Super can be much harder to quantify if you are a member of MSBS or DFRDB, known as defined benefit schemes. This is because the bulk of your super benefit will likely be in the form of a lifetime indexed pension, based on your years of service and final average salary. The longer you stay in Defence, the larger your lifetime pension. This cannot easily be compared to a standard accumulation super fund. Please contact the Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation (CSC) for an estimate or your current benefit.
If you have an accumulation super fund, like ADF Super, it’s much easier to compare the superannuation you get from Defence with that of a civilian employer. Generally employers pay super at a rate of 9.5% of your ordinary salary and allowances, Defence pays super to accumulation fund members at a rate of 16.4%, well above the minimum requirement.
You may not appreciate the value of your generous superannuation benefits now, but you certainly will in years to come.