There can be big differences between the cheapest and most expensive energy
plans—often hundreds of dollars over a year, so it’s definitely worth
shopping around to see whether or not you can save money.
If you Google “Save electricity plans” you’ll find quite a few sites that
offer to save you “heaps” from your current bill, but a lot of these sites
have a link to one or more energy providers and are therefore not totally
independent and will try and steer you to one of their connected suppliers.
Fortunately, the Australian Government also has a site which is totally
independent and FREE to use and which will search all the providers and
compare your usage against those providers. You can search to compare your
electricity usage, your gas usage or both.
https://www.energymadeeasy.gov.au/ click on whether you wish to compare
electricity, gas or both, enter your postcode then click “Get Started”.
You’ll need your most recent electricity and/or gas bill, then fill in the
form and it will show you the cheapest provider.
Independent report into DFRDB.
DFRDB has for far too long been a sticking point for many ex-ADF personnel,
particularly for those members involved in the Lump Sum Commutation problem.
Those involved say the DFRDB Authority failed to disclose to veterans the
whole-of-life impost of a Lump Sum Commutation on superannuation payments
by a factor, based on redundant Notional Life Expectancy data and an
individual’s Service data. Limited disclosure of the whole-of-life
deductions was made by DFRDB 37 years after the Scheme was launched, but
never to members so affected.
Direct debit by DFRDB has been incremented and escalated over time, to a
level where the original lump sum has been reimbursed multiple times. This
effectively means that veterans are subsidising their own benefits.
There was no definition of the term ‘commutation’ within the legislation or
in any document provided by DFRDB to superannuants, until its disclosure
advised above. The direct debits were shown in the legislation and the
DFRDB’s Administrative Manual to be a finite amount, not an escalating
On advice from DFRDB Administration, all superannuants understood
Commutation as an advance of Benefits to be reimbursed to DFRDB by
fortnightly debits over a finite period and at a finite rate. How deluded
Veterans were through DFRDB’s failure to disclose their interpretation of
the Legislation, before the fact, thereby committing Veterans to an ever
increasing, spiralling, life-term DEBT-SENTENCE.
It works like this:
Member Joe has served with the ADF for 35 years. Joe joined when he/she was
20 and retired at age 55 back in 1990. On retirement, Joe was eligible for a
DFRDB pension for the rest of his/her life and has decided to take part of
that pension as an up-front payment of (say) $20,000 (for a deposit on a
house or whatever) and the rest as normally fortnightly pension payments.
DFRDB then looks at Joe and thinks that as Joe is 55 years old, his/her life
expectancy is another 20 years, so they say to Joe that they will discount
his pension by $1000 a year ($1000 by his/her 20 year life expectancy = the
$20,000 up front payment).
That’s all well and good, trouble is, Joe outlives his/her 20 years life
expectancy and lives to the ripe old age of 85 years but DFRDB keeps on
discounting Joe’s pension payments by the $1000 a year payment well after
the end of his life expectancy so that at age 85, Joe has been “diddled” out
of $10,000 (10 years at $1000 a year).
Now blind Freddy can see that that is wrong and why something hasn’t been
done to fix it is anybody’s guess. How easy would it be to insert a sunset
clause into the deal thereby stopping the discounting once the expected life
expectancy age was reached.
Instead, the gutless Government has convened another “inquiry” into the
problem which means, nothing will be done.
In March 2019, the then Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Darren Chester
announced an independent inquiry to examine the information provided by
scheme administrators and relevant departments to members of the Defence
Force Retirement and Death Benefits (DFRDB) superannuation scheme. He said:
"The DFRDB scheme, which was established in 1972 and closed to new
members in 1991, allowed members to commute (exchange) part of their pension
for a lump sum.
There are different views among some in the veteran community about
certain areas of the scheme and the appropriateness of information provided
to members at the time. The government recognises the importance of open and
transparent discussion around veteran concerns and we will consult with the
ex-service community about the terms of reference for the inquiry, as well
as panel membership”
WOW! How perceptive of you minister!.
Australian Defence Force Retirees Association recently had a look at the
whole DFRDB mess. In April they released the following:
Recently, three events occurred which could have a direct effect on all
On 25 March, Minister Darren Chester announced an Independent Inquiry into
the Administration of DFRDB Scheme Commutation Arrangements;
On 2 April, the ESO representatives at the ESO Round Table meeting with the
Minister agreed unanimously that the Commonwealth Ombudsman should head that
On 17 April, the Alliance of Defence Service Organizations (ADSO) released
its Major Policy Objectives – 2019 Election and Beyond.
As they stand, none of these initiatives are in the best interests of DFRDB
The focus of the Inquiry is “to examine the information provided by scheme
administrators and relevant departments to members of the DFRDB scheme”,
when the real issue is that the DFRDB Act, fails to deliver on the
Government’s stated intent to provide a fully indexed defined benefit scheme
which includes a proportionate commutation arrangement;
The Commonwealth Ombudsman is:
ADSO’s Policy Objectives do not represent DFRDB recipients’ concerns.
ADSO’s major policy objectives in relation to DFRDB are:
Fair Indexation for All DFRDB Recipients
Objective: To extend the provisions of the Defence Force Retirements
Benefits Fair Indexation Act to include all DFRDB superannuates under 55,
especially to those in receipt of DFRDB invalidity superannuation pensions.
Objective: To immediately apply the up-to-date life tables for
calculating commutation and fortnightly payments for current and new DFRDB
superannuates; and the rectification of the financial injustices caused by
the application of outdated life tables to superannuates.
Reversionary Benefits (for widows, widowers and dependent children)
Objective: To redress the reduction of all their benefits, i.e.
retirement pay, invalidity pay and reversionary pensions for widows,
widowers and dependent children, resulting from the manner in which those
benefits were indexed before 1 July 2014, and continue to be indexed for
those aged under 55.
These ADSO policy objectives
do not address our concerns:
Our concerns on indexation are that:
below the Fair Indexation baseline established by the Fair Indexation Act in
2014. We want the rates of our benefits restored to the Fair Indexation
baseline, but as it did in its pre 2014 Fair Go campaign, ADSO fails to
address this huge inequitable loss of benefits suffered by the majority of
In conjunction with indeThe pensions of those of us who were subjected to
indexation based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI), for up to 38 years, are
up to 38% xation linked to the CPI, a partial indexation formula was
incorporated which excludes a part of our benefits from the application of
indexation increases. This formula discriminates against members by gender,
age on retirement and date of retirement, regardless of whether or not we
commuted and continues for the determination of our widows’ pensions after
Our concerns on commutation are;
The restoration of commutation to a proportionate exchange, where total
retirement pay reduction equals the amount commuted; and
The refunding of retirement pay reductions which exceed the amount commuted.
ADSO’s objective of immediately applying up to date life tables will only
benefit DFRDB members who are still serving. But with increasing life
expectancy those members will find themselves in the same position we are in
now when they reach their life expectancy.
These concerns affect nearly all DFRDB recipients. But there is another
rip-off which affects members who commuted and subsequently re-enlisted.
Their first commutation amount, fully indexed, is deducted from their second
commutation but their retirement pay reduction after the first commutation
is totally disregarded. They also deserve to be represented.
ADSO is aware of the real DFRDB concerns but have ignored them because they
are not prepared to put up a fight. If you are a DFRDB recipient and are a
branch member of an Ex- Service Organization (ESO) affiliated with ADSO, you
should raise your concerns within your local branch and the National
Executive of your ESO, regarding the stance taken by ADSO.
The other side.
As with all
arguments, there is another side – have a look at
THIS is definitely in the "Believe it or not" category.