Federal Member for Wide Bay Llew O'Brien has welcomed today's announcement that an independent inquiry is to be established into the Defence Force Retirement and Death Benefits (DFRDB) superannuation scheme.
"This inquiry is the first step into righting a wrong for the many thousands of veterans who took a lump sum advance on their pension, to investigate the information provided by scheme administrators and relevant departments to members of the DFRDB superannuation scheme," Mr O'Brien said.
"I've spoken with many veterans about their concerns regarding the financial information they were provided with when they made decisions to commute part of their pension into a lump sum. This inquiry needs to hear from them, about their understanding of how the scheme was supposed to operate, and examine the advice that was given to veterans at the time."
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.
Mr O'Brien said he had met with a number of veterans and Returned & Services League representatives who were concerned that veterans understood their repayments would cease when the lump sum had been paid off, only to find their pension payments were still being docked.
"I am extremely concerned that veterans and members of our Australian defence force have told me they were sold the option of taking a lump sum advance, without the proper and reasonable information from the Australian Government that clearly indicated the deduction would be permanent against the full value of their pension, for the remainder of their life," Mr O'Brien said.
"These are people who have fought to protect our country, our Australian military heroes - so I welcome this inquiry to set this matter right."
Ex-Service Organisations and scheme members will have the opportunity to make submissions to the inquiry and raise any other concerns relevant to the scheme.
The inquiry is on the agenda for the next Ex-Service Organisation Round Table, to be held on 2 April 2019.