Every year the Royal Australian Navy Relief Trust Fund spreads Christmas cheer amongst Navy families allowing eligible service personnel to take out an interest-free loan of up to $1000.
Loans can be used for a variety of items during the festive period to ease the stress of what is already a busy time of year.
As with every year, many Navy families took advantage of this opportunity in the lead up to Christmas period with over $500,000 allocated.
Captain Lisa Batchler is a trustee of the Fund, and said that supporting Navy families was a Christmas tradition and a popular service offered by the fund.
“The Fund was established in 1913 with the object of providing welfare assistance to serving and ex-serving members of the Navy and their families,” she said.
“Since 2007, the Christmas loan scheme has provided more than $12 million to Navy families, which assists with the additional expenses experienced during the Christmas holiday period.”
Loans are repaid through a small reduction in fortnightly pay.
Administered under the Services Trust Fund Act 1947 (Cth) the Fund does not receive funding from the Defence Budget. The only sources of income are contributions from the Royal Australian Navy Central Canteen Fund, interest accrued from investments and small loan administration fees.
The Relief Trust Fund provides a range of financial products and services in the form of home management services grants of $2000, family support services loans $3000, general purpose loans of up to $4000 and special loans $5000 for legal, unexpected domestic debt and compassionate or compelling members family needs.
Services are reviewed periodically to ensure they remain consistent with the Fund's vision, mission and values and to ensure they continue to meet the needs of Navy members.