Why is there a Trust?
While the Department of Defence, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Returned and Services League, Legacy and other organisations provide significant and valued support, they are often unable to provide the full support required by soldiers and their families due to the limited parameters within which such welfare organisations are authorised to operate; administrative approval processes that delay responsiveness; the difficulty of identifying situations of need; and limited dispensable resources.
The Commando Welfare Trust (CWT) was established in July 2010 as a perpetual trust for the purpose of providing a Qualifying Person from SOCOMD with Financial Relief when other organisations cannot provide such assistance.
The SOCOMD units covered by the CWT include the Special Operations Headquarters, 1st Commando Regiment, 2nd Commando Regiment, Special Operations Engineer Regiment, Special Forces Training Centre, Parachute Training School and Special Operations Logistics Squadron. Members of the Special Air Service Regiment are covered by the Special Air Service Resources Trust Fund.
The vision of the CWT is to support SOCOMD soldiers and their families in a manner that is outside the scope of, but complementary to, existing Defence and non-Defence support mechanisms. Specifically, the CWT will have:
- ensured provision of responsive, relevant, effective and enduring support to a Qualifying Person; and
- enhanced cohesion among the national welfare community towards the provision of support to a Qualifying Person.
Mission, Mantra & Values
The mission of the CWT is to support the welfare of a Qualifying Person when other organisations cannot.
The CWT mission is summarised by the mantra “supporting soldiers and families when others cannot.”
The CWT maintains three core values:
- compassion for the qualifying members of the CWT,
- responsiveness in providing timely support, and
- sustainable support to meet the needs of current and future Beneficiaries.
The Trust Deed is the foundation document for the operation of the Commando Welfare Trust.
The current Trustees are:
- Graham Ferguson (Chairperson),
- MAJGEN Jeffrey Sengelman DSC AM CSC (Deputy Chairperson)
- Ian Breedon
- Peter Harvie
- Peter Laverick
- Bruce Parker
- Damian Paul
- Mark Coad
Trustees are not remunerated for their service.
Trustees may change from time to time in accordance with the Trust Deed.
The Commando Welfare Trust was created on 5 October 2010 with funding raised from individual contributions. On 7 November 2011, the Minister for Defence, Stephen Smith, announced that the Australian Government would provide an $8 million grant to the CWT to establish the core funding baseline. In accordance with the Trust Deed, this principal amount cannot be diminished; however interest on the principal amount can be used to pay benefits to current and future Beneficiaries.
The principal amount is managed in accordance with a conservative investment strategy.
The Trustee considers recommendations from the Military Advisory Board. The Military Advisory Board operates in accordance with its Charter.
A decision to pay a benefit is made in reference to the Principles of Support. The Principles of Support provide guidance to the Trustees but are not binding. The Trustees will always consider the Trust Deed and the current and future funding pool available when making a determination.
The Trustees recognise that there are a number of Beneficiaries yet to be identified, including potential spouses and children, and therefore retains an amount for the future.
The Trustees understand that funding is often required urgently and will always act as quickly as possible when making determinations. It will not be necessary to wait until the Trustees next meet before a determination is made.
Other Organisational Support
Beneficiaries of the Trust often receive support from other organisations such as the Department of Defence, the Department of Veterans Affairs, Returned and Services League and Legacy. However, if a Beneficiary claims for a matter that has already received funding from another organisation, funding from the Trust will only be paid up to the gap between the cost to the Beneficiary and funding already received.
The Commando Welfare Trust is supported by a part-time paid Executive Officer who liaises with Beneficiaries, donors and the Military Advisory Board. Additionally, the Commando Welfare Trust relies on the support of volunteers, including the Trustees.
Trust Deed Definitions
The following definitions from the CWT Trust Deed apply to this overview:
Authorised Service means any service undertaken by a member serving with or in direct support of Special Operations Command (SOCOMD) which was authorised by any commanding officer or authorised officer or member of SOCOMD or any other person (civil or Military) acting in accordance with lawful authority.
Beneficiary means a Qualifying Person who is in receipt of Financial Relief under the terms of the Trust.
Dependant means the spouse, de facto spouse, or interdependent partner (whether or not remarried), dependent children and dependent parent.
Financial Relief means the direct and indirect relief to a Qualifying Person in Australia (or temporarily outside Australia in genuine exceptional situations) who are in necessitous circumstances including but not limited to the provision of cash payment, food, clothing, essential goods, family relocation support, home modification for those seriously injured, security, legal, dental and medical services and assisting with the provision of education for dependent children.
Qualifying Person means:
- any member of the ADF who, while serving with or in direct support of SOCOMD, died or was permanently disabled, whether in Australia or elsewhere, in the course of Authorised Service; or
- any Dependants of a member.
To make a donation, go to our Donation page.
For further information about the Trust please contact: