The Australian Army

Executive Summary

About the Army Relief Trust Fund

The Army Relief Trust Fund (ARTF) was established in 1947 to provide benefits for soldiers who are serving or who have served in the Australian Army and their dependants.

The legislative name for the Army Relief Trust Fund is the Australian Military Forces Relief Trust Fund.

The original source of funds came from the allocation of sixty thousand pounds (AUD$120,000) by the government of the day, from the profits of canteens during WWII. The Army Relief Trust Fund was formerly known as the AMF Relief Trust Fund. The Fund’s only source of income is interest on investments and a small fee charged on loans.

To ensure that ARTF funds are used solely for the benefit of soldiers and their dependents, the Department of Defence provides secretarial, administrative and infrastructure support to the Fund.

The Fund secretariat is embedded within Personnel Branch and is located in Canberra.

Management

The Trust is managed by a Board of Trustees drawn from various ranks and positions. Trustees are appointed by the Minster for Defence and serve on a voluntary basis.

Trustees are supported by a Secretariat embedded within Personnel Branch at AHQ.

Services to members

The Trust offers two types of loans to members:

Relief Loan – is a loan where, in general terms, a loan will be made available to those experiencing financial hardship or necessitous circumstances, with priority given to cases where the situation has arisen due to unforeseen circumstances or situations beyond the control of the member. Relief loans will always receive priority payment over a General loan. Debt consolidation is not a Relief loan.

General Loans – are loans for any ‘worthwhile’ purpose and will be by far the majority of loans issued. Examples of General loans are:

  • Furniture/household needs
  • Debt consolidation loans
  • Dental
  • Medical
  • Legal
  • Wedding expenses
  • Travel expenses
  • Funeral expenses
  • Car repair and expenses
  • Housing
  • Education expenses

Funds Maintenance Contribution. General loans will attract a Funds Maintenance Contribution (FMC). Relief loans will not. The FMC assists to maintain the viability of the fund and will always be below the Reserve Bank of Australia cash rate.

Payment of Loans. Loans are funded on a pay fortnightly basis. Only Relief loans will be funded outside this cycle – General loans will not. The final decision if an application is Relief or not lies with the Secretary of the Fund. The Secretary will be guided by Chain of Command comments. The current maximum loan is $5000. Although loans are funded on a pay day, most members will not have access to funds until the following day given the transfer timeframe between financial institutions.

Backlogs. There may be times where the number of applications exceeds the capacity to pay on a fortnightly basis. The Secretariat will make every endeavour to minimise any ‘wait’ period with the aim of not having a member wait more than 3 pays after the application leaves the Unit. Historically, backlogs may occur in peak application periods of March and September/October.

Electronic Applications. The preferred method of applying is through the electronic system. However, if Chain of Command protocols require a ‘paper copy’ then so be it.

Email addresses. All email addresses are to be the defence e-mail address.

Top Ups. Trustee’s expectation is that members will repay a loan in full before making a further application.

Loan Repayments. The maximum timeframe for a loan repayment is over 2 years. An earlier timeframe can be nominated. Additionally, throughout the life of the loan, repayments may be increased. Lump sum payments may also be made. The Secretariat of the Fund is to be consulted on all changes in the first instance – pay representatives are not to transact Relief Trust Fund loan changes – the Secretariat will do so.

Leaving the ARA. Members leaving the ARA with a loan liability are to contact the Secretariat before their separation date. Failure to finalise an outstanding loan liability or make appropriate repayment arrangements will result in a member being ‘listed’ which in turn will impact on their ability to access credit after separation.

Hardship Grants. Hardship grants are not paid to serving members.

Tracking the status of an application. It is a member’s responsibility to keep track of the status of an application. The Secretariat may be contacted to assist.

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