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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

The Partner Education and Employment Program (PEEP) provides funding towards initiatives aimed to contribute to the employability of partners when they are relocated as a consequence of their ADF partner’s military service.

PEEP, offers various initiatives to eligible partners. They are:

  • personalised resume preparation,
  • professional employment assistance, such as employment advice and help with job applications,
  • renewing professional registration in a new location, and
  • education or training courses.

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 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.

Applicants should anticipate that it will take a minimum of 28 days from receiptof the application form(and any necessary evidence as attachments to the application form) for an assesment to be made. Applicants will be notified in writing of the outcome of their application.

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.




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.


Contact us

Defence Family Helpline
1800 624 608

Defence Community Organisation Headquarters
PO Box 7921
Canberra BC ACT 2610

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