Battle lines drawn over travel cuts

Ready for fight: Barry Grant, head of Australian Commando Association (right) is circulating a petition opposing federal government budget cuts to defence leave travel. He is pictured with Hughes MP Craig Kelly at the War Memorial outside the Woronora River RSL Club. Picture: Chris Lane
Ready for fight: Barry Grant, head of Australian Commando Association (right) is circulating a petition opposing federal government budget cuts to defence leave travel. He is pictured with Hughes MP Craig Kelly at the War Memorial outside the Woronora River RSL Club. Picture: Chris Lane

FORMER Commando Barry Grant is gearing up for one of his most important battles.

The Bangor resident is fighting a federal government decision to cut recreation leave travel entitlements for thousands of serving Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel.

The recent federal government budget stripped recreation leave travel for single ADF members aged 21 and over, affecting approximately 22,000 service personnel.

Mr Grant, who is president of the Australian Commando Association (NSW) and president of the Woronora River RSL sub-branch, described the federal cut as "mean spirited".

The cuts affect recreation travel from bases within Australia, meaning single service personnel aged over 21 years who may have returned from overseas service to a base in Townsville, Fremantle or Darwin, will have to pay their own way home to other cities in Australia to see their families.

"Service personnel, particularly the guys I represent who are in the special forces, are almost on a continual rotation to Afghanistan," he said.

"Generally, they don't get to spend a lot of time at home before they are sent away again.

"This move is cynical in light of the generous salary increases politicians recently gave themselves."

Mr Grant has now started a petition to reverse the cut.

He is supported by Hughes MP Craig Kelly, who will support an opposition motion to reinstate the entitlement.

The petition is available at RSL clubs and Mr Kelly's office in East Parade, Sutherland.

Will you sign the petition against service personnel leave cuts?