ALP Media Release – Labor Announces Senate Inquiries into the TPI Pension and DFRDB Superannuation Scheme

Labor has established new Senate inquiries into the Totally and Permanently
Incapacitated (TPI) veteran pension and the Defence Force Retirement and Death
Benefits (DFRDB) military superannuation scheme.

This release from Shayne Neumann MP Shadow Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Defence Personnel and member for Blair and Senator Kimberley Kitching Chair, Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee Senator for Victoria, advises that Labor successfully moved motions to refer these matters to the Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee for inquiries with the support of the Greens and all crossbench Senators late yesterday in the Senate.

The Morrison Government’s flawed 2019 reviews of the TPI payment and the accuracy of advice provided to DFRDB scheme members were a slap in the face for ex-service men and women.

Both of these reviews were announced on the eve of the last election and were
cynical marketing exercises from the Prime Minister designed to placate veterans.
After raising expectations he would increase the TPI payment and sitting on the
review for more than a year, Scott Morrison announced in last year’s Budget that he
would not raise the pension rate and would only provide rent assistance to around 10
per cent of disabled veterans, leaving most disgusted they will miss out.

To add insult to injury, in Senate Estimates hearings in October last year, it was
revealed it would be another two years before benefits began flowing while they
identified eligible TPI pensioners and made changes to legislation and IT systems.

In addition, a Commonwealth Ombudsman investigation of the DFRDB scheme
found Defence provided misleading advice to ADF members about their options to
commute or exchange part of their pension for a lump sum, and that this constituted
defective administration.

However, in its response the Government failed to provide any compensation to
former defence personnel or make any changes to the scheme.

Members of the ex-service community have continued to raise longstanding
concerns in relation the adequacy of the TPI pension and the historic commutation
arrangements for the DFRDB scheme. They believe the Morrison Government has
ignored them.

Labor has listened to these concerns and will now conduct independent Senate
inquiries to allow for an open and transparent examination of these issues and to
establish the facts.

Labor will work with the Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References
Committee to establish these inquiries, including Terms of Reference, to ensure it
can provide thorough and comprehensive reports.

It is anticipated the inquiries will receive submissions and hold public hearings, and
report back by 24 June 2021.

Labor is on the side of Australia’s veterans and we want to allow all voices to be
heard.
FRIDAY, 19 MARCH 2021