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Non-Warlike Service

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Non-Warlike Service

VEA section 5C(1)

MRCA section 6(1)(b)

Non-warlike service is a service type that applies to both the VEA and MRCA.  It is service determined by the Minister for Defence to be non-warlike, in the form of a legislative instrument. 

What kinds of service are declared Non-Warlike?

The types of service that the Minister has determined to be non-warlike operations are generally those military activities short of warlike operations where there is a risk associated with the assigned tasks and where the application of force is limited to self-defence.  Casualties could occur but are not expected.  These operations encompass but are not limited to hazardous activities that involve a higher degree of hazard than normal peacetime duty (for example, mine clearance), Peacekeeping operations in which military personnel help restore and maintain peace with the consent of all parties but do not have the power of enforcement, and activities involving the provision of humanitarian relief other than normal peacetime operations such as cyclone or earthquake relief flights or assistance.

What eligibility does Non-Warlike service provide?

Non-warlike service provides eligibility to claim for compensation for injury, disease and death under both the VEA and MRCA, using the more generous standard of proof. It is not considered qualifying service and therefore does not provide access to service pension.  Under the VEA, non-warlike service is a sub-set of operational service.

If an operation is declared non-warlike, for a person to access benefits and entitlements associated with non-warlike service it only needs to be shown that the person or the person’s unit was assigned for service on the operation.

What does it mean to be assigned for service on a Non-Warlike operation?

In the context of non-warlike service, the term assigned for service refers to the Defence Force process by which a person or their unit is allocated to a military operation.  In order to determine whether a person has non-warlike service from an operation that has been declared to be non-warlike, their service record needs to show that they or their unit was assigned for service on that operation.

This assigned for service requirement is not as strict as the allotment process. The only requirement is that the Department of Defence provide evidence that the member was assigned. No formal instrument is required.

Future Operations

Since 1997, declarations of non-warlike service and warlike service have been the preferred approach to determining operational service under the VEA.  Declarations of non-warlike and warlike service have the advantage of not requiring legislative amendment and referring to a type of service recognised under both the VEA and the MRCA. It is expected that into the future, operations will either be declared warlike or non-warlike.  Operations not classified as warlike or non-warlike since 1997 are regarded as peacetime service.  

All warlike and non-warlike operations since the introduction of the MRCA in 2004 receive two declarations, one under the VEA and one under the MRCA.  This is because income support and certain other benefits are still provided through the VEA, while compensation for injury, illness or death is mostly provided through the MRCA for operations from 1 July 2004 onwards.