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Army November 26, 2009
I AM disappointed that after more
than 30 years of dedicated service
the Army Ski Lodge at Mt Buller
closed its doors at the end of this
This decision will leave no
Army amenities for families in the
immediate Victorian area.
I have been told that the facility
is getting too old and needs a few
repairs and this could cost quite
a bit of money. Are members and
their families’ morale not worth
that money spent; and, how is it
that the RAN is able to have three
If SME and ASEME were
asked, they could provide trade
support in the off-season to bring
it back up to scratch, AST could
provide transport and ASO could
provide logistical support, and this
could all be beneficial training for
soldiers. I am sure that if the ques-
tion was posed that some members
out there would be willing to use
some of their BRL to help out.
I know the purse strings are a
bit tight, but I would be willing to
pay a small membership fee a year
call it a maintenance fee – on top
of the booking fees to stay to keep
using this facility and I am sure that
others would too.
The facility could also be
booked and used in the off season.
If asked nicely the CA, or even the
CDF, could release some coffers
from somewhere to assist in the
purchase of materials and to assist
in the keeping of a long-standing
member of the Army family.
WO2 Robert Butchart
School of Armour
Brig Gerard Fogarty, Chair, Army
Amenties Fund Company, responds:
THE Army Amenities Fund
Company (AAF Coy) is incorpo-
rated; it must maintain opera-
tions using monies it raises from
its holiday facilities and through
The AAF Coy Board at a
meeting held in March 2007 con-
firmed that the lease on the Lodge
at Mount Buller would not be
renewed, and this decision was
upheld at several board meetings
throughout 2008 and 2009. The
board’s decision was based on a
number of factors, including:
The lodge, outside of the ski sea-
son, was not being utilised.
Declining use throughout the ski
season. From FY 02/03 to FY 07/08
the usage dropped by 26 per cent.
To renew the lease, the company
would need to spend a large sum of
money to ensure the lodge met the
Victorian Government Alpine Plan.
The board, at the AAF Coy
Strategic Planning Day in
February, was presented with a
number of issues concerning holi-
day facilities and the way they are
being utilised. It was proven that
less than 3 per cent of the Army
population utilises the Army holi-
day facilities. The primary users
were other services, Defence civil-
ians and retirees.
At the planning day, the board
resolved to move the company in a
new direction to ensure better use of
funds that will provide greater ben-
efit to serving soldiers collectively.
The new initiative will be officially
announced before the end of 2009.
THE Howard Government removed the reason-
able benefits limits (RBL) from superannuation
from July 1, 2007.
During the ADF superannuation review road
show in 2007, I questioned why the MSBS MBL
was not covered under the changed legislation.
I was advised that MBL and RBL, while having
the same purpose, are not legally the same and
as such the new legislation does not apply. In
addition I was told that the ADF superannuation
review was looking at this aspect.
It is interesting to note that under pre-July
2007 RBL, you were taxed on any money that
you received over the RBL limit. Under MSBS,
the employers multiple changes (reduces) to
ensure that your final payment is under the MBL
As the ADF review was completed and ready
for issue in July 2008, I would request an update
in regard to the review and what will be the affect
on the MBL for ADF personnel.
Maj Des Scheidl
Officer Training Wing
Land Warfare Centre
Craig Scarlett, A/Director Defence Superannuation
THE superannuation RBL set the maximum
amount of life-time retirement and termination
of employment benefits for which individuals
could receive concessional tax treatment.
It was removed as part of the “Better Super”
arrangements introduced by the previous gov-
ernment, which also introduced different taxing
arrangements for superannuation benefits and
amounts paid on the termination of employment.
The Military Superannuation and Benefits
(MSB) Scheme maximum benefit limit (MBL) is
an original scheme design feature that sets a limit
on the maximum benefit payable under the MSB
rules. Members are required to cease normal
contributions once their combined member and
employer benefits reach the pension MBL point.
The method for calculating MSB MBLs is
largely based on multiples of final average sal-
ary (FAS). The level of MBL is updated annually
(in July) to reflect movements in average weekly
earnings. Accrued MSB Scheme benefits are not
frozen once a member reaches their MBL and
continues to serve. Both scheme components con-
tinue to accumulate independently; the member
benefit according to MSB Fund earnings and the
employer benefit in line with FAS increases.
As Maj Scheidl has indicated, the Review into
Military Superannuation Arrangements recom-
mended that MBLs be abolished. The recommen-
dations of the review raise complex issues and
potential significant budgetary implications for
the superannuation arrangements for both current
and past members of the ADF. The Government is
still considering its response, including that relat-
ing to MBLs.
THE recent CA directive regarding berets
(43/09 dated November 4) notes that, except
in defined circumstances, for reasons of tradi-
tion and OH&S, the slouch hat is the default
headdress of the Australian Army.
The community’s perception of the
Australian slouch hat is that it is worn (unlike
slouch hats worn by New Zealanders and
Gurkhas) with the left side turned up. Of the top
50 images of Australian slouch hats identified
by Google Images, 45 (90 per cent) have the
side up. Despite this, the Australian slouch hat is
currently worn side down in all but ceremonial
dress, when sun exposure is likely to be greatest.
Is it necessary to defy tradition and hard-
won public recognition when the slouch hat is
worn with general duty “polys” or even the new
general duty dress (DPCU) in an office environ-
Invoking OH&S concerns seems spurious
when Defence civilians in the same offices are
not required to wear any form of headdress at
all. As uniform policy is currently topical, could
a return to side-up slouch hats with general duty
barracks dress be considered?
Maj Michael Reade
OC Specialist Advisory Group
RSM-A WO Stephen Ward responds:
THE slouch hat is shown with the left side
up in a lot of photos on the Australian War
Memorial’s web site. I also note that there are
many examples of the hat being worn with the
When reading the history of the slouch hat
in detail and examining many photos, there are
many comments about the practicality of the
No tricks to slouch hat Waiting for
Downhill run for Army skiers
hat keeping the elements from the head and the
face, and many varied styles by which the hat
has been worn.
Many photos from World War I onwards
have soldiers wearing the slouch hat with the
brim up when official photos are being taken
and when battle dress is being worn.
History indicates that the slouch hat started
to be worn with the side pinned up by the unit
badge or pin in order to facilitate rifle drill.
The hat is shown in World War II photos,
especially in the jungles of the Pacific island
nations, being worn as a bush hat. The soldiers
of 3RAR in Korea wore the slouch hat with the
brim down as part of their normal patrol dress.
This clearly identified Australian soldiers from
others in the Commonwealth forces. From these
examples you can see that the slouch hat has
been worn in various forms for a long period
of time and has become a part of the Australian
You should also note that in the late 1930s
it was proposed to remove the slouch hat as a
form of headdress for Australian soldiers. The
press in England took up the cause to ensure
we kept the slouch hat as a uniquely Australian
form of headdress. You need to keep in mind
that most Londoners at that time had seen WWI
Australian soldiers on R&R in battle dress
wearing the slouch with the brim up. I thank
those people who took up this cause to ensure
we retained the slouch hat. (The Slouch Hat and
Emu Plumes – http://www.anzacday.org.au/edu-
I joined the Army almost 31 years ago.
In order to gain maximum protection, once I
became better educated about the dangers of
sun exposure, I have worn the slouch hat when
in barracks or general duty dress with the brim
down. It is only on ceremonial occasions that
I wear the slouch hat with the brim up. It was
not until I was older, and less bullet proof, that
I started to wear sunscreen in conjunction with
the slouch hat to afford myself maximum protec-
tion from the damage that the sun can cause.
I do not know where you, or anyone else for
that matter, could get the perception that we are
defying tradition and hard-won public recogni-
tion by wearing the slouch hat with the brim
down. Many members of the public only see the
slouch hat being worn with the brim down. As
a soldier who has had a melanoma and a basal
cell carcinoma removed, I will proudly wear the
Australian Army slouch hat with the brim down
to protect myself from the sun and the rain. I
will also enforce the wearing of the slouch hat
as the authorised form of headdress for the
Australian Army where required. Slip-slop-slap
was not just a program dreamed up by the mar-
Hats on: The wearing of slouch hats has
more purpose than tradition.
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