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Defence Member and Family Support

For ADF members and their families

1800 624 608


Authority to commence

The ADF Service that you have successfully applied for initiates the release of the appointment or enlistment listing/signal, which is the authority for your removal to Australia.

The Australian High Commission or Australian Embassy will coordinate travel to Australia, removal and the appointment/enlistment ceremony. The High Commission or Embassy will also assist in your general administrative support requirements including arranging your accommodation or housing solution in Australia.

You will be allocated a unique employee identification number to access Defence’s personnel management system. This will allow you to access the Defence Housing Australia (DHA) HomeFind website for accommodation options.

International travel

Flights from your appointment/enlistment location will be arranged by the Australian High Commission or Australian Embassy. As a general rule, you and your family will fly to Australia on the same or next day of your appointment/enlistment. The ADF will only pay for flights for the member and recognised dependants.

You will be given up to two days (depending on time zone) to settle in and adjust after you arrive in Australia before commencing your induction program with your gaining Service.


ADF accommodation on arrival is managed by Overseas Administration and Civilian Relocations and Housing is managed by Defence Housing Australia  or DHA. DHA works to ensure ADF members are accommodated according to Department of Defence requirements and entitlements.

ADF policy stipulates that if you do not own or have a suitable home in your posting locality, Defence will provide housing assistance to assist with the hardships caused by the need to relocate regularly and, at times, short notice. A member with dependants is eligible for a service residence if they do not own a suitable home at their posting location.

A service residence is the main form of housing available to Defence members with recognised dependants. These properties are generally located close to Defence bases and offices. The type of residence will depend on the member’s entitlement. There are some located on Defence (military) bases; however the majority of residences are located within the community.

Using your employee identification number, you and your partner will be able to access, review and reserve a service residence suitable for your needs, subject to your entitlement, using the DHA HomeFind  website.

An alternative to a service residence is the payment of rent allowance, which subsidises the cost of renting a property in the private rental market. This is only available where it is deemed that there is no suitable service residence available.

If you are approved for rent allowance, you will need to find a suitable rental property and you will then be responsible for paying the rent to the landlord or agent. The rent allowance will be credited to your salary, consistent with your entitlement. 

Rental contributions

There is no free accommodation. Members must pay a nominal contribution towards the cost of living in the rental residence, which is set to a scale consistent throughout Australia. For members without dependants, they will contribute to the cost of the living-in accommodation.

The rate of contribution depends on the classification of the accommodation and the member’s category in accordance with their entitlement. This information is available from DHA using HomeFind.

A member’s contribution (payment) is debited from their salary each fortnight. If you choose to live in your own accommodation or are approved to live in rental accommodation, you will you pay your mortgage or rent through your own arrangements.

Air and sea freight

Airfreight can take approximately three weeks to arrive in Australia and sea freight takes approximately six to eight weeks to arrive. Your removals service provider should provide these details and provide periodic updates on the progress of your effects. You should keep your case manager and your supervisor informed of the expected date of arrivals.

Depending on the date that your household effects are expected to arrive, the Overseas Administration Team may hire furniture to allow you to live in your service residence in relative comfort. This will let you start settling in while you wait for your household furnishings to arrive from overseas.

Packing for removal

The removalist will pack your entire house for you at Defence’s expense, subject to the exclusions below. You should only need to pack enough clothes for approximately six to eight weeks, which is the estimated time it will take for your items to arrive in Australia. On arrival at your home in Australia, the removalist will unpack the majority of items (please refer to your relocation package for full details).

Part of the removals contract is that removalists pack and unpack everything. They will not put it away for you, but they will put it in the general location such as cooking utensils in the kitchen. It is essential that you familiarise yourself with the removalist’s conditions before you arrive in Australia to ensure that you know what they will and will not unpack. You should also identify the claim period with your insurance provider. For example, some providers allow 14 days to submit a claim, whereas others may be longer.

There are five categories of items that the ADF will not move. They are:

  • Vehicles – you may import your vehicle into Australia at your own cost, including all associated costs. It may be a more viable to sell your vehicle and purchase a new one on arrival in Australia.
  • Garden equipment such as shovels, rakes, axes, pitchforks etc, as well as large machinery such as ride-on lawn mowers, band saws and spa baths.
  • Towable items such as boats and trailers/caravans.
  • Bulk wood or metal materials
  • Pets – the High Commission may be able to provide details of suitable companies that will remove your pets, but you should undertake your own search for suitable companies.

Transporting pets

You must consider Australia’s quarantine laws and regulations and also the environment you will be relocating to when transporting and settling your pets.

Bringing any animals into Australia may be problematic in terms of quarantine regulations (animals may have to spend a significant period in quarantine and others simply cannot enter Australia). Certain breeds of dogs are illegal in some states in Australia and you should check this first.

Important: There are strict rules on the importation of animals. If approved for importation, many animals will be subject to extended periods in quarantine on arrival.


Australia is particularly protective of the preservation of its native flora and fauna and the Australian Border Force and Australian Department of Agriculture have very strict standards in relation to allowing certain items into the country. Costs associated with cleaning, fumigating or disposal any plant or animal products that may compromise Australia’s bio-security will not be covered or refunded by the ADF.

Important: A single item may delay your entire shipment if not properly prepared, cleaned and declared.

Insurance of household effects

We strongly recommend that you purchase insurance (at your own expense) for your household items being shipped to Australia. You have an option to take out insurance with the contracted removalist or choose a different insurance provider. If you choose a different insurance provider, please notify the contracted removalist directly.

If you have an insurance claim after your goods have been delivered to your home, you must contact the insurance provider directly. Neither the ADF nor the Australian High Commission is responsible for private insurance claims.