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Remuneration and benefits

Remuneration is a key component of the Defence employment package. It attracts people to join Defence and plays a significant role in retaining talent. Defence’s employment offer provides fair and competitive remuneration, consistent with the parameters laid down by the Government.

The diverse remuneration structures of the ADF and APS are explained further in this section.

Australian Defence Force members

The independent Defence Force Remuneration Tribunal, established under section 58G of the Defence Act 1903, is responsible for setting salary and salary-related allowances for ADF members.

The Workplace Remuneration Arrangement 2017–2020 is the framework that allows for annual wage adjustments for ADF members. It is part of the ADF remuneration initiative aimed at attracting and retaining military personnel, and forms a significant part of ADF members’ total employment package.

The Workplace Remuneration Arrangement increases salary and salary-related allowances in return for enhanced Defence capability. Other conditions of service are determined by the Minister for Defence under section 58B of the Defence Act. The current arrangement came into effect on 2 November 2017. Table 6.20 details salary ranges for permanent ADF members as at 30 June 2020.

Table 6.20: Permanent Australian Defence Force salary ranges as at 30 June 2020


Salary range ($)



Officer of the permanent force (equivalent)

Lieutenant General (E)1



Major General (E)2



Brigadier (E)2,3



Colonel (E)2,3,5



Lieutenant Colonel (E)2,4



Major (E)2,4



Captain (E)2,4



Lieutenant (E)5



2nd Lieutenant (E)5



Other rank of the permanent force (equivalent)

Warrant Officer Class 1 (E)



Warrant Officer Class 2 (E)



Staff Sergeant (E)



Sergeant (E)



Corporal (E)



Lance Corporal (E)



Private Proficient (E)



Private (E)




  1. Some Lieutenant General (E) rates are set by the Remuneration Tribunal.
  2. Includes rates for Medical Officers.
  3. Includes rates for Chaplains.
  4. Excludes Medical Procedural Specialist.
  5. Includes transitional rates for other rank appointed as officer.

Australian Public Service employees

APS (non-SES) employees have their terms and conditions of employment set out in an Enterprise Agreement made under the Fair Work Act 2009. The agreement is developed through consultation with employees and their representatives and is negotiated consistent with legislation and the Government’s bargaining policy.

The Defence Enterprise Agreement 2017–2020 nominally expired on 16 August 2020; however, it will continue to operate alongside the determination under section 24(1) of the Public Service Act 1999 signed by the Secretary, which provides three consecutive annual increases to salary and salary-related allowances, and preserves current conditions throughout the three-year period to August 2023.

Given the unprecedented nature of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the Government announced on 9 April 2020 that all Commonwealth agencies are to defer by six months their next scheduled increase to salaries and salary- related allowances. For the APS, this decision came into effect via a determination under section 24(3) of the Public Service Act 1999 signed by the Minister for the Public Service. This power is rarely used, being limited to situations where the circumstances are exceptional. The decision delayed the first Defence APS pay rise by six months from August 2020 to February 2021. The other pay rise dates in August 2021 and August 2022 remain unchanged.

Table 6.21 details Defence APS salary rates as at 30 June 2020. The majority of Defence employees receive salaries within the standard ranges. However, the Enterprise Agreement allows for remuneration and other benefits to be varied so that Defence can develop, attract and retain selected employees with the necessary skills and knowledge to deliver capability.

Table 6.21: Australian Public Service salary ranges as at 30 June 2019




Individual arrangements1

Senior Executive Service salary arrangements

SES Band 3




SES Band 22




SES Band 13




Non-Senior Executive Service salary arrangements4



Special pay points

Executive Level 2




Executive Level 1




APS Level 6




APS Level 5




APS Level 4



APS Level 3



APS Level 2




APS Level 1




  1. Maximum salary paid under an individual remuneration arrangement shown.
  2. Includes rates for Chief of Division Grade 2 and Medical Officer Class 6.
  3. Includes rate for Chief of Division Grade 1 and Medical Officer Class 5.
  4. Salary ranges provided under the Defence Enterprise Agreement 2017–2020.
  5. Maximum rate for Executive Level 2.1, Executive Level 2.2, Legal and Science specialist structures and Medical Officer Class 3 and 4.
  6. Maximum rate for Public Affairs and Legal specialist structures and Medical Officer Class 1 and 2.
  7. Maximum rate for Public Affairs Grade 2 retained pay point.
  8. Maximum rate for Senior Technical Officer Grade 1 retained pay point.
  9. Maximum rate for Technical Assistant Grade 2 retained pay point.

Table 6.22 shows the number of employment arrangements for SES and non-SES employees.

Table 6.22: Employment arrangements of SES and non-SES employees

Arrangement title




Enterprise Agreement



Section 24(1) Public Service Act Determination







Australian Public Service benefits

All Defence APS employees enjoy a range of non-salary-related benefits. These include generous leave entitlements and access to flexible working arrangements such as flex time, part-time work and teleworking. Defence invests heavily in training and development of staff and has a number of formal and informal schemes to recognise exemplary performance and achievements.

Australian Defence Force superannuation

The Defence Legislation Amendment (Miscellaneous Measures) Bill 2020 was passed on 14 May 2020, with an effect date of 6 July 2020, allowing ADF members to continue contributing to ADF superannuation after leaving ADF employment.

Senior Leadership Group

As part of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Defence has supported a request from Government for a stay on increases to remuneration, entitlements and allowances, as well as any performance or incremental adjustments in salary for all SES employees and Star-ranked officers. Increases for higher duties and promotion are exempt from the deferrals.

During the reporting period to 30 June 2020, Defence had 21 executives who met the definition of key management personnel. Their names and lengths of term as key management personnel are shown in Table 6.23.

Table 6.23: Key management personnel, 2019–20



Term as key management personnel

Mr Greg Moriarty

Secretary of Defence


GEN Angus Campbell

Chief of the Defence Force


VADM David Johnston RAN

Vice Chief of the Defence Force


Ms Rebecca Skinner

Associate Secretary

Part-year—Ceased 15/03/2020

Mr Steven Groves

Associate Secretary


Ms Katherine Jones

Associate Secretary

Part-year—Appointed 22/06/2020

VADM Michael Noonan RAN

Chief of Navy


LTGEN Richard Burr

Chief of Army


AIRMSHL Gavin Davies

Chief of Air Force

Part-year—Ceased 03/07/2019

AIRMSHL Mel Hupfeld

Chief of Air Force

Part-year—Appointed 04/07/2019

Mr Steven Groves

Chief Finance Officer

Part Year— 01/07/2019–15/03/2020

& 23/06/2020–30/06/2020

Mr Glen Casson

Chief Finance Officer

Part Year—16/03/2020–22/06/2020

Mr Stephen Pearson

Chief Information Officer


Mr Peter Tesch

Deputy Secretary Strategic Policy & Intelligence


LTGEN Gregory Bilton

Chief Joint Operations


Ms Justine Greig

Deputy Secretary Defence People

Full-year AIRMSHL Warren McDonald

AIRMSHL Warren McDonald

Chief of Joint Capabilities


Mr Steven Grzeskowiak

Deputy Secretary Estate & Infrastructure


Prof Tanya Monro

Chief Defence Scientist


Mr Tony Fraser

Deputy Secretary Capability Acquisition & Sustainment


Mr Tony Dalton

Deputy Secretary National Naval Shipbuilding

Part-year—Appointed 29/07/2019

LTGEN John Frewen

Commander Defence COVID-19 Taskforce

Part-year—Appointed 9/03/2020

Table 6.24: Key management personnel remuneration, 2019–20


Short-term benefits:

Base salary1




Other benefits and allowances


Total short-term benefits




Total post-employment benefits


Other long-term benefits

Long service leave


Total other long-term benefits


Termination benefits

Total key management personnel remuneration



  1. The above key management personnel remuneration excludes the remuneration and other benefits of the Minister for Defence, Minister for Defence Industry, Minister for Veterans and Defence Personnel and Assistant Defence Minister. The remuneration and other benefits for these Ministers are not paid by the Department of Defence.

Australian Defence Force senior officers

All ADF senior officers (excluding statutory/public office holders) are remunerated under the 2017–2020 Australian Defence Force Workplace Remuneration Arrangement. Other non-pay-related conditions of service are determined by the Minister for Defence under section 58B of the Defence Act 1903.

Public officeholders

Public officeholders, including the Secretary and the Chief of the Defence Force, are remunerated under determinations decided by the independent Remuneration Tribunal under the Remuneration Tribunal Act 1973.

The Remuneration Tribunal determined no adjustment to remuneration for public offices in its jurisdiction for the period from 1 July 2020.

Senior Executive Service

SES terms and conditions of employment are set by a single determination made under section 24(1) of the Public Service Act 1999. The determination is supplemented on an individual basis by a common law agreement covering remuneration.

Performance pay

Non-SES APS employees move through their salary range subject to fully effective or better performance. Employees at the top of the range receive a 1 per cent lump sum bonus or a minimum payment of $725.00, whichever is the greater. This bonus is considered a form of performance pay.

SES employees may have their salary increased based on the outcome of their annual performance appraisal. An SES employee may also be paid a bonus at the discretion of the Secretary as a reward for exceptional performance.

Performance-based pay is not a feature of any existing ADF remuneration framework. Career development opportunities, including promotion, are the key means of recognition of performance.

Table 6.25: APS employee performance bonus payments, 2019–20


Number of employees

Aggregated amount

Average amount





APS Level 1




APS Level 2




APS Level 3




APS Level 4




APS Level 5




APS Level 6




Executive Level 1




Executive Level 2









  1. Performance cycle is 1 September – 31 August.
  2. There were no performance payments made to SES employees.
  3. Averages for the APS 1 to APS 4 classifications reflect amounts below the minimum bonus payment. This occurs for part-time employees and employees within 1 per cent of the top of the salary range who receive both performance progression and a partial lump sum payment.