DFRT gets first-hand exposure to life at sea

Published on LCDR Ben Robinson (author), LSIS Kayla Jackson (photographer)

Location(s): Fleet Base East, Sydney

The Defence Force Remuneration Tribunal members and support staff with Royal Australian Navy personnel onboard HMAS Canberra during a familiarisation tour of the ship at Fleet Base East, Sydney. (photo: LSIS Kayla Jackson)
The Defence Force Remuneration Tribunal members and support staff with Royal Australian Navy personnel onboard HMAS Canberra during a familiarisation tour of the ship at Fleet Base East, Sydney.

The Defence Force Remuneration Tribunal (DFRT) recently had the opportunity to experience conditions on board a variety of different Royal Australian Navy vessels in Sydney.

The visit gave the DFRT team, comprised of Ms Ingrid Asbury, Rear Admiral James Goldrick (Retd.) and Mr Adrian Morris, an opportunity to experience working conditions at sea and see first-hand the work value associated with employment in seagoing assets. 

The activity also provided an opportunity for the DFRT members to understand issues affecting the fleet and in particular the impact of workforce hollowness and the effectiveness of maritime allowance.

Rear Admiral James Goldrick (Rtd) noted that such visits gave the Tribunal first-hand exposure to the human impact of service at sea. 

“The other members of the DFRT have not previously served in the military, so the opportunity for them to experience the living and working conditions at sea is invaluable,” Rear Admiral Goldrick said. 

“Navy gave the Tribunal a tour of a variety of different ship classes from HMAS Canberra to HMAS Yarra, which meant they could understand the different conditions in Major Fleet units compared to Minor War Vessels.”

“Defence does an amazing job of articulating this when they present to the DFRT, however, there is nothing quite like experiencing these conditions for yourself,” he said.

Royal Australian Navy officer Lieutenant Commander Stephen Delo, RAN (centre), facilitates a group discussion between the Defence Force Remuneration Tribunal and crew members of HMAS Canberra, alongside in Sydney.

Royal Australian Navy officer Lieutenant Commander Stephen Delo, RAN (centre), facilitates a group discussion between the Defence Force Remuneration Tribunal and crew members of HMAS Canberra, alongside in Sydney.

Captain Phil Henry, Director Navy People Policy Governance said this sitting of the Tribunal gave Navy an opportunity to present a series of briefs on workforce hollowness, retention initiatives and connectivity at sea. 

“By front-loading the Tribunal with these briefs, they then had an appreciation of how these issues impacted the workforce at the coalface,” Captain Henry said.

“Discussions on connectivity and the impact this has on the “quality of life” was articulated to the Tribunal before the ship visit, which gave them a greater appreciation of how this impacted the sailors when they are at sea. 

“These presentations meant the conversations the tribunal had with members at sea were more targeted to gain a more meaningful appreciation,” he said. 

The DFRT is an independent statutory authority established under section 58H of the Defence Act 1903. The DFRT conduct visits and inspections to gain an understanding of how various parts of the Australian Defence Force work to deliver the Government’s Defence capability. 

The DFRT is a legally independent body comprised of three members appointed with the sole purpose of setting pay and allowance rates for ADF members. While the ADF makes submissions to the DFRT, the determinations of the DFRT are made at the sole discretion of its three members and cannot be overturned either by the ADF or the Australian Government.

Additional imagery is available on the Defence Image Gallery: https://images.defence.gov.au/S20183403.