At this time of year, many ADF members and their families will be relocating. This means many additional tasks to fit into an already busy time of year. Making a ‘To-do’ list can help you plan what needs to be done and keep track of your progress. Here are some tips to make the move a bit smoother.
The first step to a successful move is to know what your entitlements are. The Toll Defence Relocation Guide and the DHA Tenant Handbook will help you navigate this process and alert you to helpful services like fast disconnection and reconnection services for your utilities.
You, or your spouse, may be entitled to a house hunting trip to visit the new posting location to find a Service residence or home for which rent allowance is payable.
An advance visit also gives you a chance to check out schools, recreation and other local facilities.
Be aware that if, after receiving a house hunting allowance, you reject a reasonable offer of service residence or rented home, you must repay any money received for the house-hunting trip.
Moving out costs
Defence will cover the cost of packing and moving your household contents and larger items like motor vehicles. Running down things like food, cleaning products and toiletries means you’ll have less to move and less wastage. Any money you save could be put towards restocking at the other end.
The property you’re leaving, including gardens and other outdoor areas, must be left clean and in an acceptable condition. It’s up to you whether you do this yourself or pay someone to help you. If the DHA property has carpet, you will be charged for carpet cleaning after you move out. You may also be charged for things like repainting and garden maintenance for issues not considered fair wear and tear.
If you disagree with an assessment DHA has a complaints resolution process, see the DHA Tenant Handbook for details.
Moving in costs
The cost of living in your new location may be higher or lower than your current location, especially if you are moving between a capital city and a regional area, in or out of Darwin or other remote area. If you are moving into somewhere particularly hot or cold, consider the impact cooling or heating will have on your utility costs.
Now might be a good time to reassess your current budget and make adjustments so that you are better prepared financially for the move.
If you’ve had items in storage that are moving with you, chances are they’ll need a good clean. Furniture like lounges or mattresses may benefit from a professional clean.
Houses come in different sizes and layouts so you may need to buy new furniture to better fit the space. Consider selling what you don’t need and using the money to purchase items you do need.
Restocking your pantry, cleaning supplies and other things will increase your costs initially, however a larder allowance is available to help with these costs.
Arriving in a new location means finding new healthcare providers. If you have private health insurance your insurer may have lists of appropriate providers in the new area.
If you have children with special needs or health conditions, talk to the new school to make sure care or health plans are in place.
If you’re travelling with your family, you’ll need to factor in additional costs of food while you’re on the road. You’ll receive an allowance, but staying within that allowance can be hard if you haven’t planned ahead.
Also consider the cost of posting Christmas presents to family and friends. It may be more cost effective to shop online and have items delivered directly.
If you have pets, find out the registration requirements in the state you’re moving to. Be aware of any additional costs you may incur above your entitlement for things like extra kennelling or quarantine. Be aware also of state restrictions on pet ownership, e.g. some suburbs have cat containment areas and rabbits are not allowed as pets in Queensland.
If you move states and take motor vehicles with you, you’ll need to register them in the new state. In some states this will require a roadworthy certificate. If you are driving an older vehicle it may actually be cheaper to sell your current vehicle and buy another one when you reach your destination. Research your options before making any decisions.
You’ll need to notify your car and home contents insurer(s) that the location of your insured possessions has changed. Your insurance premium may go up or down as a result of the move. If it goes up you will have to pay extra. If your premium goes down, you should get a refund.
Defence Families Australia is a community of people who understand, and have experience, of what Defence families go through. Connect with other families in your new posting location to share your experiences and get tips from others to make resettling a little easier on you and your family.
Good luck with the move!