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Relocation. This one word can strike fear in the heart of seasoned spouses and worry in the minds of those spouses experiencing a defence move for the first time. It can trigger sleepless nights, entail endless list-making and kick off never-ending online searches.


It means it’s time to move. For the first time or again.

It’s time to pack and unpack. For the first time or again.

It’s time to cook in a serviced apartment with one working hotplate and three forks. For the first time or again.

And for most of us, relocation is part and parcel of military life.


For those new here, a relocation is when you move due to service reasons or a change in personal circumstances. Most defence families relocate because their serving member is being posted to a new base/ship. But for some, the move is due to reasons such as the family buying their own home or a relationship breaking down. These approved relocations are funded by the commonwealth and include moving your family, pets, vehicles and stuff (within reason) from your old home to your new one.


I’m not going to beat around the bush. Moving is HARD! And despite some defence families moving every few years, I’m sorry to say experience doesn’t cancel out the stress or make the lists of to-dos any shorter. However, being prepared and knowing what to expect from the process can help take a little of that weight off your shoulders.


One of the first things you or your military person should do is connect with Toll.

(The second is finding a house – so make sure you check out the Defence Housing Australia info.)


Who is Toll and what do they do?

Toll are contracted by Defence to organise relocations for military members and their recognised family. Once you’ve let them know you need to move, you will be assigned a Toll Case Manager who will organise a chunk of your move for you including,

Booking a removalist to pack up, move and unpack your household items.

Storage of items in certain circumstances (ie, an international posting).

Booking transport of any vehicles you won’t be using to get to your new location.

Booking hotels/apartments at your old and new locations.

Booking flights if you fly to your new hometown.

Calculating and arranging payment or reimbursement of your relocation allowances and entitlements.

Handling repair of or compensation for any damaged items deemed to be caused by the move.

Once everything is finalised you will receive your Original Move Plan Letter covering everything Toll has organised on your behalf and if anything changes you will be sent an updated Move Plan Letter.


What do you need to do?

While Toll takes care of a lot, defence families still have their fair share of responsibilities. Defence expects the serving member aka your defence member to read the Defence Relocation Guide and have a grasp of their allowances and entitlements, as detailed in PACMAN (have fun with that!)

You or your partner will also need to fill out an inventory of items being moved, complete an Application for Removal through the Toll website, organise transport and kennelling of pets (which you will be reimbursed for) and organise any accommodation needed while travelling between locations.


What if something goes wrong?

Your Toll Case Manager will be your go-to for any issues relating to your move, such as problems with your removalist, accommodation not being up to standard or if you need to change your move dates. During peak posting season (December-January) it can be difficult at times to get a hold of your Case Manager but they should be returning phone calls or replying to emails in a timely manner. You can also contact your region’s Defence Relocation and Housing Manager if you need advice or help relating to relocation issues.


Want to know more?

This Toll webpage is a great place to get more info about Defence moves. And you can use the Posting Connect online platform to streamline the relocation process.


ML Pro tip: Double check EVERYTHING because there is nothing worse than getting to your hotel after a long day of removals to find the booking is for a year’s time. Or finding your whole household of stuff was delivered to the wrong state. It’s happened. It sucks. So double check or triple check just to be sure!