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Supporting Defence partners

DCO’s range of support for Defence partners works to:

For more information or to access any of these services, call the all-hours Defence Family Helpline on 1800 624 608.

  • Education and employment
  • Distance learning
  • Online resources
  • FamilySMART

Partner education and employment funding

DCO provides funding for employment and education expenses to assist recognised partners of ADF members to better position themselves for employment when posted with their partner.

The Partner Employment and Education Program, or PEEP, offers two tiers of funding to eligible partners.

Tier 1

Approved partners are provided with an education and employment allowance of $12 000 to use within 10 years. You can use up to $6000 of this allowance per posting, and apply it towards a range of education and employment expenses, including:

  • education or training courses, up to and including first time undergraduate degrees,
  • professional employment assistance, such as career advice and help with job applications,
  • superannuation setup courses,
  • personalised resume preparation, and
  • renewing professional registration in a new location.

Tier 2

Tier 2 funding is available to the partners of Private to Sergeant (and equivalent) enlisted ranks and Lieutenant to Captain (and equivalent) officer ranks.

This entitles you to an in‑financial year, one‑off payment of up to $3000 which can be used for education or vocational courses, up to and including first time undergraduate degrees.

Partners can only apply for one Tier at a time, and those who successfully apply for Tier 2 may apply for Tier 1 funding however the Tier 2 funding will be deducted from the Tier 1 allocation.The funding expended under Tier 2 will be deducted from the Tier 1 allowance if you receive Tier 1 PEEP in future years.

If you have any queries about PEEP, contact the all-hours Defence Family Helpline on
1800 624 608
or DefenceFamilyHelpline@defence.gov.au.

How to apply

Applications are considered throughout the FY until funding allowance has been exhausted.

Interested partners need to read the guidelines and eligibility criteria and then fill in the Tier 1 or Tier 2 application form. You will need to demonstrate the relevance of the proposed study to your chosen field of employment. Self-interest or hobby courses will not be funded under PEEP.

Forms need to be submitted, at least two weeks prior to the commencement date of any course or training you are applying for.Applicants whom have enrolled prior to approval will only be considered for funding post approval da

All assistance provided under PEEP will attract Fringe Benefits Tax for the ADF member, not the partner. We strongly advise you to seek financial advice about how this will affect your tax and benefits before committing to the program.




PEEP Frequently asked questions

What is PEEP?
Partner Education and Employment Program (PEEP) is available for Defence recognised partners of ADF members to assist them in securing employment when relocated with their partner to a new location on posting.

What is available under PEEP?
There are a range of opportunities available to improve your employability when posted with your partner.  For a more detailed explanation on each initiative please refer to the PEEP Guidelines

-Tier 1 Funding – covering short courses and long term study over 12 months
-Tier 2 Funding – covering short course
-Personalised Resume Preparation
-Professional Employment Services Assistance
-Professional Re-registration payable on relocation
- Superannuation Set-up courses

What is not available under PEEP?
-PEEP does not guarantee employment
-PEEP does not fund career changes or professional development
-PEEP does not fund self-interest and hobby courses
-PEEP does not fund postgraduate study

What’s the Difference between Tier 1 and Tier 2 PEEP Funding?
Tier 1 provides an allowance of up to $12,000 within 10 years from approval.
Only $6,000 of this allowance can be accessed per posting locality.
This amount is capped per posting and additional funds will not be accessible.
Tier 2 funding is available to the recognised partners of Private to Sergeant (and equivalent) enlisted ranks and Lieutenant to Captain (and equivalent) officer ranks.
Provides an in-financial year (1 July - 30 June), one-off payment of up to $3000.
Tier 2 will be offered until 30 June 2015.

What Eligibility Criteria do I need to meet?
Must be recognised as the partner of a Full Time ADF member
-ADF member must have completed 4 years F/T service
-Applications must be lodged within 2 years of posting to a new locality

-Partners who have regular employment will not be eligible
-ADF members who proceed on posting unaccompanied – the partner will not be eligible
-PEEP is not available to partners of ADF members who are separating

How do I apply for PEEP?
Applications for Tier 1 are open until the funding is exhausted.  Applications for Tier 2 may be lodged at any time up to 30 June 2015.

New PEEP Applicant:  After reading the PEEP Guidelines to confirm you meet the eligibility criteria fill in the PEEP Application Form and email to DefenceFamilyHelpline@defence.gov.au.
You will receive an automated acknowledgement confirming we have received your application.

Existing PEEP Applicant:  Fill in your PEEP Application Form and attach your completed transcripts or certificate of completion and email to DefenceFamilyHelpline@defence.gov.au

Previous PEEP Applicant: Fill in your PEEP Application Form and attach a copy of your certificate of completion for your previously funded course and email to DefenceFamilyHelpline@defence.gov.au

If I need assistance who do I contact?
Visit the DCO website www.defence.gov.au/dco
Email PEEP at DefenceFamilyHelpline@defence.gov.au
Call Defence Family Helpline 1800 624 608

Do I need to fill in another application form each time I select a new PEEP initiative?
Yes once you have completed a course if you choose to undertake another you are required to submit an application form. For long term study i.e. longer than 12 months such as university study you will be required to submit an application form each semester or financial year for approval.

What sorts of courses are covered by PEEP?
Courses up to and including first time undergraduate degrees
-Accredited courses only
-Courses only delivered by Registered Training Organisations
-Visit link www.training.gov.au
-Face to Face course, online or via correspondence.

How long does it take to be reimbursed the costs?
The expense will be reimbursed to the ADF member’s nominated bank account on receipt of evidence of payment.  This is processed within 7-10 working days.  Applicants will be notified once payment is processed.

Can Defence pay for my costs so I am not out of Pocket?
DCO may pay the service provider on a partner’s behalf upon receipt of an authorised invoice.  Payment will be processed within 7 – 10 working days.

If the course that I plan to undertake in our current posting locality exceeds $6,000, will this be funded under PEEP?
No PEEP provides an Education and Employment Allowance of $12,000 for a ten year period and this is capped at $6,000 per posting.  Any expenses above this amount will be self funded.

If I don’t spend all of the $6,000 during our first posting can I add what is left to my second posting allocation?
No. The funding allocation is $6,000 per posting.

I recently completed a training course and wasn’t aware of PEEP can I claim my payment fees?
No. As per the PEEP guidelines, the program does not accept retrospective payments.  Payment of initiatives will only be made after the date of PEEP approval.

What if I don’t complete my course?
If circumstances change and the partner cannot undertake the training through ill health or for any other reason, it is the partner’s responsibility to negotiate or arrange with the service provider to have the training deferred to a later date or for the money to be reimbursed back to Defence.  You are required to contact DCO to advise of the changes.  If this is not undertaken then no further funding will be approved.

We are posting at the end of the year and arrive in our new location in December – am I able to apply for PEEP prior to our arrival?  
If your posting is recorded on PMKEYS, your application for pre-posting assistance will be processed.




Open Universities Australia

Defence has a partnership with Open Universities Australia (OUA), which offers higher‑education and vocational study options from single units to entire degree programs. Partners are encouraged to take up distance learning through OUA, as it allows you to learn at your own pace and from wherever you are currently posted.

OUA’s value‑added offer for Defence includes an advisory support team, financial assistance for textbooks and tutorial support.

This offer is not limited to successful PEEP applicants and extends to ADF personnel and Defence APS employees and their immediate families.

Visit the website at www.open.edu.au/oua/peep for more information.

Online employment resources

There are several free employment resources available online which may be of use to Defence partners. Free professional resume builders are a great resource and are available on the internet. Entering ‘resume builder’ into a search engine will give you an extensive range to choose from.

JobSearch is Australia’s largest free jobs website.  It is funded and operated by the Australian Government as a free service to help job seekers gain employment and connect employers with quality staff. Visit www.jobsearch.gov.au for more information.

The Australian Public Service Commission’s Cracking the code – How to apply for jobs in the Australian Public Service is a comprehensive online resource that includes advice on how to answer selection criteria and handling a job interview. Visit www.apsc.gov.au for more information.


The SMART suite of programs help Defence families develop their resilience, providing them with the psychological resources to manage the military way of life. Increasing your ‘psychological resilience’ means that despite experiencing frustrations and challenging circumstances, you can still maintain an optimistic outlook and keep going.

The SMART programs teach you a series of skills including grounding techniques, progressive muscle relaxation, changing self-talk, problem solving, and expressing emotions.

During a SMART session participants will also be given information and resources to connect them with valuable local community resources. The programs are delivered by local Defence Social Workers in small group sessions, and provide practical tips and techniques to help manage stressful situations.

To sign up for any of the SMART sessions in your region, or to find out more information, contact the all-hours Defence Family Helpline on DefenceFamilyHelpline@defence.gov.au or 1800 624 608.

Read more about looking after your mental health and wellbeing.


FamilySMART is a series of group programs designed to help the partners of ADF members identify and build on their strengths, learn techniques to cope with the stressors and challenges of the military lifestyle, and become more resilient, self-reliant and proactive.

The programs target challenging aspects of Defence life such as deployment, relocations, partner absence from home, or reuniting with a partner who is returning after a long time away.


As part of the SMART series, we also offer programs designed for primary aged children and teenagers to help them manage issues arising from relocation and deployment.

Find more details in the For kids tab of Programs and products for kids.


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Defence Family Helpline
1800 624 608

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