You are here
B67/1995 ALLOTTED FOR DUTY - SERVICE IN THE OPERATIONAL AREA
DATE OF ISSUE: 12 DECEMBER 1995
ALLOTTED FOR DUTY - SERVICE IN THE OPERATIONAL AREA
This instruction advises of amendments contained in the Veterans' Affairs (1995-96 Budget Measures) Legislation Amendment Bill 1995 relating to eligibility for service pension in respect of members of the defence force who were allotted for duty in an operational area but who did not actually serve in that operational area.
2.This includes service with Army units which were allotted for duty in Korea but were based in Japan where many members of the unit did not serve in Korea, and service with the Navy aboard ships such as HMAS Vengeance and shore bases such as HMAS Commonwealth which although allotted for duty in Korea, did not serve in the operational area.
3.In 1950 the Repatriation Act 1920 was amended to provide eligibility for disability pension for persons, or members of units, who were "allotted for duty" in an operational area. Korea and Malaya were declared as operational areas for the purposes of the Repatriation Act 1920. For service pension purposes the only change was :"any reference to service in a theatre of war shall be read as a reference to service in an operational area".
4.When the Veterans' Entitlements Act was introduced in 1986 the same words were used to define operational service (disability pension) and qualifying service (service pension). The Veterans' Entitlements Bill 1985 Explanatory Memorandum referring to Clause 36 and the meaning of qualifying service stated: "Qualifying service will have the same meaning as 'served in a theatre of war' in section 23 of the Repatriation Act 1920". Therefore qualifying service requires allotment to and, service in, the operational area.
5.Several service pension claims have been pursued to the AAT. In two cases the Tribunal interpreted the legislation to mean that a person who never entered the operational area was eligible for service pension if any member of that person's unit (being a unit allotted for duty) entered the operational area.
6.Following the AAT decisions, Income Support Branch sought clarification of the Commission's policy concerning eligibility for service pension when allotted for duty. Consequently, the Repatriation Commission determined that the original intention of service pension as recognition of the intangible effects of "war service" would be upheld. For the purposes of the VEA, a person who had been allotted for duty, or was a member of a unit allotted for duty, in an operational area had rendered qualifying service for service pension purposes only if that person actually served in the operational area. It is not sufficient only to have been allotted for duty, or to have been a member of a unit allotted for duty of which some members served in the operational area.
7.The existing subparagraph 7A(1)(a)(iii) has been omitted and replaced by a new subparagraph 7A(1)(a)(iii) as follows:
"(iii) subject to subsection (1A), rendered service outside Australia in an area described in column 1 of Schedule 2 during the period specified in column 2 of that Schedule opposite to that description, as a member of a unit of the Defence Force that was allotted for duty, or as a person who was allotted for duty, in that area; or".
8.Subparagraph 7A(1)(a)(iv) has been replaced by subsection 7A(1) as follows:
"(1A) Service rendered in an area described in item 3 of Schedule 2 (in column 1) during the period specified in column 2 of that Schedule opposite to that description must be service in respect of which the person has been awarded, or has become eligible to be awarded, a British General Service Medal with the Malaya Clasp.".
9.The contact officer for enquiries regarding this Instruction is Jeanette Ricketts, Policy Administration and Advice Section, National Office. Telephone 06 289 6085.