We want to communicate to our families details of a housing trial being held in Victoria.
We have received a number of enquiries about this trial and we know it has been shared many times around the Defence family online community.
This afternoon we contacted Defence Housing Policy and received the following response:
**Members being posted to, or already posted at, the Puckapunyal Military Area are able to ‘opt into’ the trial, by initially seeking an extension of posting location from their CO.
**This means members can seek approval to live a greater distance away from their normal place of work to live closer to their spouse’s or partner’s place of work and/or study, and still receive some form housing assistance from Defence.
This trial is a direct result of feedback from Defence families to our Victorian National Delegate who shared these concerns with CDF and the Minister at our conference week in 2017.
This is a perfect example of how we work at DFA. We listen to the feedback from families and communicate that feedback to Defence and the Minister.
Defence is committed to reducing the impact of ‘Service life’ on Australian Defence Force families and has been looking at ways in which we can do this.
In 2017, the Chief of the Defence Force and the then Minister for Defence Personnel, the Hon Dan Tehan, initiated a Housing trial in order to provide greater support for spouses and partners of ADF members, particularly with regard to employment and study.
The three year initiative is being trialled from the Puckapunyal Military Area and commenced on 11 January 2018 and is focused on keeping the family unit together.
The Trial will enable Defence to better identify costs associated with support for spouse/partner employment and/or study, and we are hoping it will also better enable consideration and decision making for future funding and housing forecasting.
Members being posted to, or already posted at, the Puckapunyal Military area are able to ‘opt into’ the Trial, by initially seeking an extension of posting location from their Commanding Officer.
During the Trial members will be able to reject a suitable offer of a Service residence in the Puckapunyal Military Area based on:
- confirmed spouse or partner employment;
- confirmed spouse or partner study; and
- access to professional support for recognised dependents with special needs.
In applying to be part of the trial, evidence must be presented to the commanding officer that employment and/or study has been secured. Possible opportunities or future prospects of employment is not sufficient evidence to be considered.
The Trial will ensure continued Commonwealth housing assistance for ADF members in locations surrounding Puckapunyal which better meets the needs of their family.
Why was Puckapunyal chosen to conduct the Trial?
Puckapunyal was chosen as the location of the Trial as it is a contained regional area that is unique in that employment opportunities are scarce within the immediate location, however available in multiple locations and in any direction from the Base. Public transport is also limited and needs to be assessed as a possible barrier for many duel income families.
This will also enable Defence to quickly identify, assess and measure unknown impacts in a restricted and contained area before considering expanding the policy further.
In light of the outcomes of the Trial, other locations may be assessed with a view to implement the policy more broadly.
It is acknowledged there will be different challenges for different locations across Australia. Should the policy be considered for broader implementation, specific challenges which have been identified would be considered separately.
For more information contact your Commanding Officer, or partners can contact the Housing Policy Inbox preferably through the ADF member (i.e. the ADF member should write on their Partner’s behalf).
The inbox address is: firstname.lastname@example.org