Defence pay deal slammed by MP
MORE than 4000 Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel are being treated with "disrespect and disdain" by the pay offer from the Abbott Government.
That is the word from Blair MP Shayne Neumann who said that he government's pay offer of just 1.5% per annum was an insult to those who put their lives on the line for their country.
Mr Neumann said under the previous pay agreement negotiated by Labor, ADF wages increased by an average of 3% every year.
But a spokesperson for Minister for Defence David Johnston said the new ADF pay arrangement was "not a reflection of the value the Government places on ADF personnel - rather it is a product of an economic legacy we face as a nation".
Government statistics reveal that in Ipswich and the Somerset region there are six navy personnel, 566 in the army, 2419 RAAF members and a further 193 civilian and 962 reserve personnel.
"That's a total of 4,146 ADF personnel in Blair being treated unfairly," Mr Neumann said.
"So in our community we are very much worse off than just about every other area, because of the 150 electorates we have got one of the highest levels of military personnel because of the large base at Amberley.
"Our servicemen and women shouldn't have to fight the government for decent pay and conditions. "
"Australia asks our ADF personnel to defend our country and spend extended periods away from family, the least the Government can do is pay them properly and give them proper leave.
"When Labor was in government our last pay deal with the military was 3% per annum over three years, so the government is giving military personnel and their families a pay cut.
"The 3 % was commensurate with other public service rises but an offer of 1.5% is less than inflation.
"It is appalling treatment. It is an unfair deal. I want a fair deal."
Mr Neumann said that a lot was already asked of military personnel.
"There is enormous strain upon them, particularly as the husbands and wives are putting their lives on the line in warlike situations and peace keeping operations.
"Now the government has treated them with such disrespect and disdain to give them what is in effect a cut to their
Mr Neumann said Opposition Leader Bill Shorten had written to Mr Abbott asking him to reconsider this "terrible decision" and to go back to the Defence Force Remuneration Tribunal with a new offer.
Mr Johnston's spokesperson said the debt left by Labor was the reason for the pay offer.
"We want to do the right thing by our defence force," the spokesperson said.
"But when we a burdened with a legacy of a monthly interest bill of $1 billion it is not feasible to borrow even more money for higher wages.
"No responsible government would do that.
"Labor turned nearly $50 billion in the bank into projected net debt well over $200 billion - the fastest deterioration in debt, in dollar terms and as a share of GDP, in modern Australian history
"When you are in a situation of a $50 billion deficit, you cannot be as generous as you are in when you are in a situation of a $20 billion surplus.
"That is just the reality and I understand why personnel and their families are disappointed."