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Defence Community Organisation

For ADF members and their families

1800 624 608

Pay and conditions

The ADF Pay and Conditions Manual (PACMAN) details the salary, allowances and conditions of service for all ADF members, both within Australia and overseas. The PACMAN is designed to be accessed electronically. It contains the most up-to-date policy on pay and housing, through to assistance with children's education on relocation. It is strongly recommended that members and their partners (if applicable) familiarise themselves with PACMAN .

Salary, leave and entitlements

The ADF sets pay and allowances through a fair and transparent process. The Defence Force Remuneration Tribunal (DFRT) determines pay and pay-related allowances for members of the ADF, independently of the ADF. Any changes to pay or classification are submitted to the DFRT by the Defence Force Advocate who represents the interests of the ADF. The Department of Employment and Workplace Relations represents the Commonwealth.

The Returned and Services League of Australia and the Armed Forces Federation of Australia also make regular submissions to the DFRT. The ADF Workplace Remuneration Arrangement and Star Ranks Remuneration Arrangement also authorise increases in ADF Salary and Allowances .

Consistent with the general community, the ADF is committed to increasing its productivity and effectiveness. In return, the ADF is awarded regular general salary and allowance increases through workplace arrangements approved by the DFRT.

All members have a liability to serve wherever their service is required. They may be posted to sea (Navy), high population areas, low population remote localities and overseas deployments. The conditions of service that are offered to potential applicants are based on current and forecast ADF workforce requirements.

Superannuation (or retirement benefits)

It is a requirement that any person employed in Australia must contribute to a superannuation fund. All new members of the ADF must become members of ADF Super .

Member categorisation for entitlements

You will be placed in one of two categories prior to arrival in Australia:

  • Member with Dependants (MWD), or
  • Member without Dependants (MWOD).

These categories are used to determine what conditions of service you are entitled to. Each of the terms has a special meaning which may be different from how the terms are commonly understood. For example, it is possible to be married but not fall within the definition of 'Member with Dependants'.

The following people are your dependants (if they normally live with you):

  • your spouse or recognised partner, even if he or she is not financially dependent on you,
  • your dependant children who are under 21 years of age (including your partner's children). Older children may also be dependants if they have a disability, and
  • in some circumstances, a housekeeper or guardian of your child may also be included.

You will be classified as a MWD if you live with (and provide for) people who meet the dependant definition above. You must be maintaining and living in a home at the location of your posting and live in it with at least one dependant.

You will be classified as a MWOD if you do not have dependants as outlined above and are not in a recognised interdependent relationship.

It may be possible to have another person recognised as your dependant. You must apply for and request special consideration of your particular circumstance.

Recognition of relationships

There are two separate steps in the process. The first is the recognition of the relationship. However, having a relationship recognised will not automatically trigger access to Defence benefits. The second step is establishing the appropriate categorisation of the member, which is aligned to Defence benefits. This is a separate process.

Married and registered couples complete web-form AD150 ADF Personal Data and submit their certificates as evidence of the relationship. De facto couples complete the Application for Recognition of a De Facto Relationship form (found on the Pay and Conditions website) and attach a minimum of one piece of evidence. The evidence provided should support the claim that they live together on a genuine domestic basis.

  • Married couples must provide their marriage certificate for recognition.
  • Registered couples may now use their registration certificate for recognition.
  • De facto couples need to provide a minimum of one piece of evidence and may choose to provide additional evidence.

A same-sex marriage certificate issued by an overseas jurisdiction will also be recognised under PACMAN as a relationship. However, it would not be considered 'marriage' in Australia, but rather a 'registered partnership'. Follow the process outlined for registered couples (not de facto) and provide your marriage certificate as evidence.

The approving authority must accept the member's statement unless it is reasonable to believe there is a need for more information, or there are grounds to not recognise the relationship.

Changes in family circumstances

Your family circumstances may change over time and you may need to be re-categorised. It is your responsibility to inform your local Customer Service Centre, Personnel Office or Orderly Room of any changes to your family composition or circumstances.

As many conditions of service depend on your categorisation, if you fail to advise the changes you may be incorrectly paid and, as a result, risk incurring an overpayment and debt.