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The purpose of this departmental instruction is to advise you of the new procedures for the printing and distribution of fortnightly pension cheques.


2.Currently, fortnightly pension cheques are printed at the NCC during the regular fortnightly payment processing.  The cheques are then forwarded to the State Offices, where they are manually separated, enveloped and despatched.  Under the existing arrangements, differing work practices are used in each State Office, which are labour intensive.  To eliminate this effort, National Office agreed to manage the printing and distribution of fortnightly pension cheques through its existing mailing house contract with Leigh-Mardon.

New procedures

3.The NCC will no longer be required to print fortnightly pension cheques.  Fortnightly processing will remain unchanged up to the point of cheque production.   Cheque print data will then be output to tape.  The NCC will forward the tape to Leigh-Mardon in Sydney, who will print and despatch the fortnightly pension cheques for all States.


4.These changes will be implemented for pension payday 5 December 1996.  Regular fortnightly processing will commence after cut-off on 29 November 1996.  As part of fortnightly processing, the NCC will produce a tape with cheque print data.  The tape will be forwarded to Leigh-Mardon for commencement of business 2 December 1996.  Leigh-Mardon will print and despatch the cheques on 2 December 1996.

Changes to cheque stationery

5.As the existing fortnightly cheque stock is out of date and does not allow for amounts greater than $999.99, new cheque stationery has been printed and supplied by Leigh-Mardon.  The new stationery has been approved by the Reserve Bank of Australia, and complies with new Australian Financial Institution standards and specifications.

6.The new stationery is generic and will be used for all states.  Only information common to all states has been pre-printed on the stationery.  Cheque numbering, account details and state specific information will be added at the time of personalisation.

7.For audit and security reasons, a serial number has been placed on the cheque stationery.  This will allow both Leigh-Mardon and the Department to accurately monitor and account for all cheque stock.

*An example of the new cheque stationery has been provided to payment administration.

Cheques greater than $999.99

8.Unlike the old fortnightly cheque stock, the new stationery is not limited to $999.99.  Previously, cheques greater than this amount would be reported on and a manual cheque issued.  Once the new procedures are in place, cheques greater than $999.99 will print automatically.  As an audit/security requirement, there is a limit of $2000 for any one fortnightly pension cheque.  If a cheque does exceed this amount, it will be reported on and a manual cheque will need to be issued.  This limit can be raised at the request of the State Offices on a need basis.

Changes to Reference Number (File Number)

9.The first character of the reference number on the existing fortnightly cheques is 'c', instead of the state prefix.  When the new procedures are implemented, the first character of the reference number will be the state prefix.

Signing Officer

10.Several State Offices will have a new signing officer appear on the new fortnightly pension cheques.  If the State Offices wish to appoint new signatories in the future, they should contact the Business Delivery Section of the Income Support Branch, National Office.

'Spoiled' Cheques

11.Spoiled cheques from the printing process will be reprinted by Leigh-Mardon using the same cheque number.  Spoiled cheques will be destroyed by Leigh-Mardon and reported on.

Extraction of Cheques

12.Due to the limited time Leigh-Mardon will have to print and despatch fortnightly pension cheques, they will not be able to make extractions.  Any cheques requiring extraction will need to be cancelled through the Department of Finance's Cheque Reconciliation Information System (CHRIS) and if required, a manual cheque issued.

Cheque Reconciliation

13.Cheque reconciliation will not be affected by the new procedures.  As part of fortnightly processing, the NCC will continue to forward cheque issue details to the Department of Finance for input to the Cheque Information Reconciliation System (CHRIS).  All reports and procedures associated with cheque reconciliation will remain unchanged.

Reports produced by the NCC

14.All reports associated with cheque production will continue to be produced for each State Office.  Minor amendments have been made to the Pension Payments Cheque Print Run Summary, and the Pension Payments Cheque Listing Over $2000.

*Examples of the modified reports have been provided to payment administration

Reports produced by Leigh-Mardon

15.Leigh-Mardon will provide a confirmation report on completion of a successful print run.


16.The following contingency arrangements are in place during and after implementation.

During Implementation

If anything goes wrong during implementation, the old procedures will be put back in place, and the NCC will print the fortnightly pension cheques.  During this period, the NCC will not release CHRIS files for DoF, until output from Leigh-Mardon has been examined and verified as correct.

After Implementation

If the NCC is unable to produce the tape for Leigh-Mardon, the Department's own contingency arrangements with Ferntree (Clayton) would take effect.  If the mailing house is unable to print the fortnightly pension cheques, their own contingency arrangements would take effect, and a back-up site would be used.

Daily Cheques

17.The existing arrangements for the production and despatch of daily cheques for one-time amounts will not be impacted by the changed processes for fortnightly cheque production.

Contact Officer

18.If you require further information or have any questions in relation to the implementation of this initiative, you should contact Simone Cantrill on

telephone (06) 289 6037, fax (06) 289 6553, or E-Mail C-C-BD-05.

Murray Harrison

Branch Head

Income Support