Festive fund relief for Navy personnel

Published on CAPT Lisa Batchler (author), POIS Phil Cullinan (photographer)

Mr Lakesh Sundar and Deputy Chair Royal Australian Navy Relief Trust Fund, Captain Lisa Batchler process the Christmas loan funds to be issued. (photo: POIS Phil Cullinan)
Mr Lakesh Sundar and Deputy Chair Royal Australian Navy Relief Trust Fund, Captain Lisa Batchler process the Christmas loan funds to be issued.
It was a jolly day in the Royal Australian Navy Relief Trust Fund Office on 5 December, when the staff hit the button to pay out $377,000 in interest free Christmas Loans to Navy personnel. 
 
Just in time for the festive season, the Christmas loan is offered annually by the Fund to assist with the additional costs of the holiday season.
 
The Royal Australian Navy Relief Trust Fund, was established in 1913 with the object of providing welfare assistance to serving and ex-serving members of the Navy and their families. The Fund provides a range of financial products and services in the form of general purpose loans, grants and special loans; one of the many ways the Royal Australian Navy supports the Health and Well-being of our people.
 
As a service fund, the Royal Australian Navy Relief Trust Fund does not receive funding from the Defence Budget. The only sources of income for the Fund are donations from the Royal Australian Navy Central Canteens Fund and interest accrued from investments. Income is required to accrue sufficient reserves to provide loans and grants in excess of $7 million per year.
 
The Royal Australian Navy Relief Trust Fund is administered by Trustees who are appointed by the Minister for Defence, and represent a cross section of Navy.
 
Primarily, the board of Trustees has been comprised of Canberra based personnel. However in 2017 two current Trustees relocated to sea going positions based out of Fleet Base West. Trustee Commander Leigh Kisnorbo is the Maritime Logistics Officer in HMAS Stuart and Trustee Lieutenant Commander Susan Harris is serving as Executive Officer of HMAS Rankin. Both Trustees continue to provide effective service to the Royal Australian Navy Relief Trust Fund Board while utilising a variety of technologies to ensure connectivity around the Fleet Activity Schedule.
 
This year saw 377 officers and sailors apply for the $1,000 interest free Christmas loan, which is recovered fortnightly through the Defence pay system commencing in February 2018. The Fund has been providing Christmas loans to eligible personnel since 2007, and has spread over $12 million dollars of Christmas cheer since that time. 
 
The $1,000 Christmas loan can be used for food, gifts, holiday travel and other expenses of the festive season when family budgets can at times be stretched.
 
Chief Petty Officer Maritime Logistics-Personnel Operatons Jay Stevenson is one of the Navy personnel who has benefitted from this very popular product. 
 
“The Royal Australian Navy Relief Trust Fund Christmas Loan comes at a busy and expensive time of the year,” he said.
 
“It is great to have access to an additional $1,000 interest free, to put towards gifts and other holiday season costs.
 
“This is the third year in a row that I have taken advantage of this fantastic offer.”
 
Christmas loans are but one of the many products and services provided by the Relief Trust Fund to support Navy people and their families in times of need.
 
For more information on this and other products, Navy personnel can contact their local personnel officer or the Royal Australian Navy Relief Trust Fund website on the Navy internal website.