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Support on Christmas Day

Troops deployed on overseas operations welcome support from members of the public, particularly at Christmas, when we are away from our loved ones.

Drop us a Line

The best way to express your support and thoughts for our troops is to send an email. Emails sent to deployed personnel are distributed widely and contribute to lift the morale of members on operations.

Take the time to view messages sent home from troops who are serving overseas. While troops enjoy receiving messages from home, they enjoy sending messages just as much. In preparation for Christmas, troops send video messages home to family, friends, and the Australian public. These messages can be viewed at the Defence Video Gallery in December.

Troops have what they need

Support does not come in a box. Deployment conditions have been improving over time, and our deployed personnel have access to shops on base that sell the comforts of home including snack food, confectionary, toiletries and magazines. Personnel also receive regular parcels from Defence's Operational Support Battalion and twice-yearly parcels from the RSL Australian Forces Overseas Fund.

Last Christmas

Last year, we were overwhelmed by more than 40 tonnes (20,000) care packages for about 2,400 deployed personnel. Unfortunately, when we receive this much mail, it takes a long time to process it, and it does not get to our troops in time.

Support those who support us

If you wish to contribute more than an email, we encourage you to make a lasting contribution to ex-service organisations that support returned Defence personnel, Veterans and their families. There are a range of different organisations in Australia that provide ongoing services to returned troops in the areas of mental health, employment support, training, and individual and family welfare. The Department of Veterans Affairs maintains a list of ex-service organisations in Australia. Donations to ex-service organisations contribute to ongoing support to those who have served Australia.

RSL care packages

The RSL Australian Forces Overseas Fund prepares care packages that are dispatched twice yearly to Defence personnel deployed on operations. These care packs contain various non-perishable items, a letter of appreciation on behalf of all Australians and RSL Membership contact details. Importantly, these packs are professionally prepared and meet all Defence and host nation transport and import requirements. Donations to the RSL Australian Forces Overseas Fund can be made online. Donations over $2 are tax deductible and every donation is individually acknowledged by the RSL.

General care packages

For members of the public who still want to send general care packages to deployed personnel for the Christmas season, the Australian Forces Post Office address below will be open during the following dates.

Wednesday 14th November - Friday 30 November 2018

An Australian Defence Member
AFPO 60
Australian Defence Force NSW 2890

Parcels must meet the limitations outlined below. In order to ensure an equitable distribution of parcels, it is requested that donations are gender-neutral, and addressed to 'An Australian Defence Member,' not to a specific job title, trade or unit member. (Note: Family and friends are able to send addressed parcels at any time.)

Defence will not accept care packages for Military Working Dogs or Explosive Detection Dogs due to strict care requirements relating to both their diet and their training programs.

To ensure that all items are able to be delivered to our deployed forces, donors are asked to ensure that packages contain non-perishable goods only. Previous experience has shown that items that are not robustly packaged can break open during transit, which can lead to infestation and spoilage of perishable goods.

Please ensure that parcels do not contain alcohol, pornography or culturally offensive / inappropriate written material.

When the postal window is established, please note that general care parcels received by Defence after this cut-off date, and those that exceed our ability to distribute to deployed personnel, will be donated to Australian charities such as the Salvation Army.

Unfortunately, due to the high volume of mail we receive, Defence is unable to reply individually to each sender.

Parcel limitations

If you wish to send a care package at Defence cost, the following weight and size limitations must not be exceeded:

  • Maximum weight 2kg;
  • Not exceed the cubed 2kg dimensions, noting an Australia Post "Bx2" box is the maximum permissible size of 2kg cubic weight; and
  • Packaging: Articles must be packed in durable packaging, which is suitably secured, in order to withstand a large volume of weight and handling.

Weight of item

Australia Post does not determine weight in part kilograms. Parcels that weigh part kilograms will be rounded up to the nearest full kg. For example, if your parcel weighs 2.2 kg then you will pay the cost of the 2.2 kg rounded up to the nearest full kg (3kg) and you will be charged for the full 3kg.

Packaging of postal items

In general, all parcels must be made-up and packed to a standard which will:

  • Prevent injury to the person handling the parcel;
  • Prevent the contents escaping, leaking and damaging other postal articles;
  • Prevent damage to equipment and vehicles, particularly aircraft;
  • Protect the contents from loss or damage caused by the stress of handling and carriage; and
  • Protect the contents from loss or damage caused by the extremes of climate.

Australia Post provides a very detailed guide that covers suitable packaging for all types of goods. It can be found at the Australia Post website and should be referred to prior to posting items to ensure that they are packaged appropriately. Items that are packaged inappropriately may be returned to the sender, or may need to be destroyed.

Prohibited goods

Certain items must not be posted in the domestic and or international postal system. This includes items such as dangerous goods, items prohibited by the International Aviation Transport Association and items that are prohibited by individual countries. Australia Post's Dangerous and Prohibited Goods and Packaging Guide is the best reference to use to ensure that you do not send any prohibited items. If in doubt, seek advice from Australia Post staff at your nearest retail outlet.

Liquid articles

The sending of liquid articles is strongly discouraged. However, if you must send a liquid product, it must be enclosed in a leak-proof container made of metal, plastic or similar material with secure closures. A suitable example of this would be a zip lock bag, placed inside another. The outer package must be strong enough to withstand large volumes of weight. Furthermore, the package must contain sawdust, cotton-wool or another protective material to absorb the liquid should the container break.

Tobacco and alcohol

Tobacco and alcohol are not acceptable for goodwill care packages and are not to be sent.

Customs declaration

A customs declaration must be attached to all parcels sent to an Australian Forces Post Office. Small envelopes, containing items other than letters (i.e. CDs, USB thumb drives, etc) are required to have a customs declaration attached. These can be obtained from all Australia Post outlets within Australia. A detailed description of the contents is required when lodging each item.