F-111 Fuel Tank Maintenance website - Information for F-111 fuel tank workers and their families

Tier Classification

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F-111 fuel tank maintenance workers

F-111 deseal/reseal and other fuel tank maintenance personnel, whose work involved fuel tank entry, may be eligible to claim for a range of benefits including: health care; counselling (for workers and their families); compensation payments; and, for certain personnel involved in formal deseal/reseal programs, ex gratia lump sum payments.

The first step, in applying for any of the above benefits, is to have your Tier Classification determined – this is a classification system that identifies you according to the type of duties you performed in your work environment.

Determination of your Tier Classification will mean that DVA will classify you according to the type of work you performed, (see definitions)  as being a Tier 1, Tier 2 or Tier 3 (who are all Group 1 participants); or, for those without Tier Classification, as Group 2 participants. Tier 1 and Tier 2 classifications only apply to workers who undertook formal deseal/reseal maintenance programs.

What is Tier Classification?
Recent changes to additional information in Tier definitions
Table of Tier definitions
How do I have my Tier Classification determined?
Other Tier information (fact sheet and forms)
Statutory Declarations

 

 

What is Tier Classification?

Tier Classification is a classification system that identifies you according to the type of duties you performed in your F-111 fuel tank repair and maintenance work, and may include other associated trades and tasks. The definitions below clearly determine the category which will apply to you and your work. Tier Classification then informs:

  • decisions about eligibility for compensation for disease or injury under subsection 7(2) of SRCA (Tier 1, 2 and 3);
  • the ex-gratia lump sum payment scheme (Tier 1 and 2 participants only - ie, those involved in one or more of RAAF's four formal deseal/reseal programs);
  • determining Group 1 status for eligibility for treatment under the SHOAMP Health Care Scheme and screening through the Better Health Program.

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Recent changes to some ‘additional information’ sections in the Tier definitions

In the six months since the May 2010 Government response, some former deseal/reseal personnel have been confused by parts of the existing ‘additional information’ in some categories of the Tier definitions.

That lack of clarity has led to changes* to some of the ‘additional information’ sections of the Tier definitions - approved by the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission (MRCC) on 9 December 2010. These changes do not exclude otherwise eligible claimants, because eligibility is determined by the actual definition, not by the additional information. They are clarifying changes only, as follows:

Category 1: Fuselage deseal/reseal or respray program 

Tier 1 and Tier 2:  The main change is to remove the sentence describing the work undertaken.  The other change is to reinforce that Tier 1, under this category, only includes personnel employed in the three formal F-111 fuselage tank deseal/reseal and respray programs over the period 1977 to 1982, 1991 to 1993 and 1996 to 2000.  Finally, a change of wording from “exclusive to” to “includes only”.

Category 2: Wings Tank program

Tier 1 and Tier 2:  The Wings Tank Program, conducted between 1985 and 1992, is regarded as one of the four formal programs for which ex-gratia payments could be made.  The change now includes the word “formal” before “wing tank program” to make it clear that it does not include wing tank work undertaken on an ad hoc (albeit on-going) basis outside the formal program.  Also, the word “cumulative” is removed as it was superfluous.

Category 3: Sealant rework (pick and patch)

Tier 1 and Tier 2: The change is to bold the words “while attached to a deseal/reseal section at 3AD/501WG, over the period 1973 to 2000”. This is to emphasise that participants needed to be attached to the DSRS Section while doing pick and patch work rather than doing the same type of work conducted at 1, 6 or 482 SQN.

Category 4: Boiler and plant attendants

Tier 1 and Tier 2: The change is to replace the word “personnel” with the words in the Tier definition itself, “Boiler and plant attendants”, to avoid any confusion that another mustering might be included.  Again, the word ‘cumulative’ is removed from the Tier 2 ‘Additional Information’.

Category 6: Fire fighters

Tier 2: The ‘additional information’ for Tier 2 is amended to insert the words, “employed as instructors”;  and the end date is changed from 1994 to 1990 - making it consistent with the Tier definition.

Category 7: Rag Hangar personnel

Tier 2: There was no ‘additional information’ for the Tier 2 definition in this category.  This is inconsistent with Category 8 and Tier 3 category 7 where there is ‘additional information’.  The following text has now been added:

“Personnel are those for whom their normal place of work was the deseal/reseal air transportable (‘Rag Hangar’) hangar, and who provided direct support to those personnel entering F-111 fuel tanks for a period of 60 cumulative days.  This does not include those personnel who may have regularly visited these hangars in the course of their duty.”

This clarifies that the definition excludes those personnel who visited the Rag Hangars and were not there as their usual place of duty. 

*In the table below new wording, or newly bolded wording, is highlighted.

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Table of Tier definitions

The table below specifies Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3 definitions  for deseal/reseal workers/fuel tank maintenance workers/other associated trades and tasks

Category Tier 1 definition
(formal deseal/reseal programs only)
Tier 2 definition
(formal deseal/reseal programs only)
Tier 3 definition
1. Fuselage deseal/reseal or respray programs and ‘pick and patch’ maintenance A person who spent at least 30 cumulative working days on the fuselage deseal/reseal or respray programs during the period 1977 – 1982, 1991 – 1993 and 1996 – 2000, whose duties involved working inside F-111 fuel tanks.

Additional Information: Personnel who worked inside body fuel tanks of the F-111 aircraft for extended periods of time for a cumulative period of not less than 30 working days, removing sealant and / or resealing the tanks.

This category includes only personnel employed in the formal F-111 deseal/reseal and respray programs over the period 1977 to 1982, 1991 to 1993 and 1996 to 2000.

{Extraneous work descriptors removed}
This does not include motor transport drivers who employed as fuel tank drivers who may have been responsible for de-fuelling F-111 aircraft prior to deseal/reseal activities being undertaken.
A person who spent between 10 and 29 cumulative working days on the fuselage deseal/reseal or respray programs during the period 1977 – 1982, 1991 – 1993 and 1996 – 2000, whose duties involved working inside F-111 fuel tanks.

Additional Information: Personnel who worked inside body fuel tanks of the F-111 aircraft for extended periods of time for a period of between 10 and 29 cumulative working days, removing sealant and/or resealing the tanks.

This category includes only personnel employed in the formal
F-111 deseal/reseal and respray programs over the period 1977 to 1982, 1991 to 1993 and 1996 to 2000.

{Extraneous work descriptors removed}
This does not include motor transport drivers employed as fuel tank drivers who may have been responsible for de-fuelling F-111 aircraft prior to deseal/reseal activities being undertaken.
Personnel who were employed in F-111 fuel tank maintenance, or other maintenance or directly related tasks, prior to January 2000 where their work included physical entry to the fuel tank to conduct that maintenance or task.

Additional information: Personnel described in this category include those who worked as direct participants in the formal F-111 deseal/reseal programs carrying out deseal and reseal tasks, including training, inside fuel tanks. It also includes personnel who worked inside fuel tanks carrying out ad hoc ‘pick and patch’ fuel tank maintenance outside those formal programs. This category applies regardless of what location the work occurred (e.g. RAAF Base Amberley, RAAF Base Edinburgh, in the United States or at other locations).

This category is phrased broadly. The principal trade groups in this category carrying out maintenance work on the fuel tank itself was the airframe fitter trade (later renamed aircraft technician). Other maintenance tasks were regularly carried out inside F-111 fuel tanks by:
  • aircraft metal worker trade
  • surface finisher trade
  • electrical fitter trade.
A number of other trade groups may also have carried out maintenance and other directly related tasks inside F-111 fuel tanks including
  • non-destructive inspection technicians,
  • instrument fitters
  • photographers.
The trade groups listed here are not exhaustive and it is possible that personnel from other trade groups carried out work inside F-111 fuel tanks and may be eligible under this definition. The most important factor is the nature of the work performed.

This category is not intended to cover personnel who may have entered F-111 fuel tanks to perform work other than maintenance or other directly related tasks.
2. Wing tank program A person who spent at least 30 cumulative working days on the wing tank program during the period 1985 – 1992.

Additional Information:  Personnel employed full time on the formal wing tank program, actively removing and replacing sealant for a period of not less than 30 cumulative working days between 1985 and 1992.
A person who spent between 10 and 29 cumulative working days on the wing tank program during the period 1985 – 1992.

Additional Information:  Personnel employed full time on the formal wing tank program actively removing and replacing sealant for a period of between 10 and 29 cumulative working days between 1985 and 1992.
Personnel who were employed on the wing tank program during the period 1985 – 1992.

Additional information:  Personnel described in category 2 include those who worked as direct participants in the F-111 wing tank deseal/reseal program, known as the third deseal/reseal program. It has been retained as a separate category because in the strictest sense it did not necessarily involve fuel tank ‘entry’. It did however involve exposure to deseal/reseal processes.
3. Sealant rework (pick and patch) A person who spent at least 60 cumulative working days carrying out sealant rework (pick and patch) during the period 1973 – 2000 while attached to an F-111 deseal/reseal section.

Additional Information: Personnel working on sealant rework (pick and patch) inside fuselage fuel tanks of the F -111 aircraft for a period of not less than 60 cumulative working days while attached to a deseal/reseal section of 3AD/501WG, over the period 1973 to 2000, plus those six personnel posted to Sacramento who completed training in deseal/reseal procedures.
A person who spent between 10 and 59 cumulative working days carrying out sealant rework (pick and patch) during the period 1973 – 2000 while attached to an F-111 deseal/reseal section.

Additional Information: Personnel working on sealant rework (pick and patch) inside fuselage fuel tanks of the F -111 aircraft for a period of between 10 and 59 cumulative working days while attached to a deseal/reseal section of 3AD/501WG, over the period 1973 to 2000.
As per Category 1
4. Boiler and plant attendants Boiler and plant attendants whose usual place of duty was the Base incinerator as an incinerator operator, and who spent at least 30 cumulative working days undertaking these duties during the period 1976 – 1986.


Additional Information: Boiler and plant attendants regularly disposing of deseal/reseal products by burning, in particular the sealant remover SR51 and SR51A, at the RAAF Base Amberley incinerator, for a period of not less than 30 cumulative  working days between 1976 and 1986.
Boiler and plant attendants whose usual place of duty was the Base incinerator as an incinerator operator, and who spent between 10 and 29 cumulative working days undertaking these duties during the period 1976 – 1986.

Additional Information: Boiler and plant attendants regularly disposing of deseal/reseal products by burning, in particular the sealant remover SR51 and SR51A, at the RAAF Base Amberley incinerator, for a period of between 10 and 29 cumulative working days between 1976 and 1986.
Boiler and plant attendants whose usual place of duty was the  RAAF Base Amberley incinerator as an incinerator operator during the period 1976 – 1986

Additional information: Boiler and plant attendants described in category 4 were regularly engaged in disposing of deseal/reseal products by burning, in particular the sealant remover SR51 and SR51A, at the RAAF Base Amberley incinerator between 1976 and 1986. This category also includes any Department of Construction workers who undertook these duties during the period.
5. Unable to continue in F-111 working environment A person who can demonstrate that they would have met one of the above criteria except for the fact that they:
  • had an immediate physical reaction; and
  • required medical treatment or intervention; and
  • were given a work restriction or medical fitness advice (PM 101)  stating that they should not return to that working environment.

A person who can demonstrate that they would have met one of the above criteria except for the fact that they:

  • had an immediate physical reaction; and
  • required medical treatment or intervention; and
  • were given a work restriction or medical fitness advice (PM 101) stating that they should not return to that working environment.
N/A
6. Fire fighters N/A Fire fighters employed as instructors, whose usual place of duty was the Fire Training School fire pits and who spent at least 60 cumulative working days actively involved in the burning of by-products from the F-111 DSRS process during the period 1976 – 1990.

Additional Information: Fire fighters employed as instructors permanently posted to a Unit at RAAF Base Amberley, and who were actively involved in burning bi-products from the F-111 DS/RS process (including the sealant remover SR51 and SR51A) at the fire pits, for training and/or disposal purposes, for a cumulative period of not less than 60 working days during the period 1976 to 1990.
Fire fighters whose usual place of duty was a Unit at RAAF Base Amberley and who were actively involved in the burning of by-products from the F-111 deseal/reseal process during the period 1976 – 1994

Additional information: Personnel  were actively involved in burning by-products from the F-111 deseal/reseal process (including the sealant remover SR51 and SR51A) at the fire pits for training and/or disposal purposes between 1976 and 1994.
7. Rag Hangar personnel N/A Personnel who were not involved in tank entry and whose usual place of duty was the Rag Hangar for 60 cumulative working days during the period Dec 1977 - Nov 1983.

Additional information: Personnel are those for whom their normal place of work was the deseal/reseal air transportable (‘Rag Hangar’) hangar at RAAF Base Amberley and who provided direct support to those personnel entering F-111 fuel tanks for a period of 60 cumulative days This does not include those personnel who may have regularly visited these hangars in the course of their duty..>
Personnel who were not involved in tank entry and whose usual place of duty was the Rag Hangar at RAAF Base Amberley during the period Dec 1977 – Nov 1983. Additional information:  Personnel are those for whom their normal place of work was the deseal/reseal air transportable (‘Rag Hangar’) hangar at RAAF Base Amberley and who provided direct support to those staff entering F-111 fuel tanks. This does not include those personnel who may have regularly visited these hangars in the course of their duty.
8. Hangar 255, 260, 277 or 278 personnel N/A Personnel who were not involved in tank entry and whose usual place of duty was Hangar 255, 260, 277 or 278 for a period of 60 cumulative working days during the period 1977 – 1982, 1991 – 1993 and 1996 – 2000.

Additional Information
: Personnel indirectly involved in DS/RS, for whom their normal place of work was Hangars 255, 260, 277 and 278, and who provided direct support to those staff entering F-111 fuel tanks for a period of 60 cumulative working days. This does not include those personnel who may have regularly visited these hangars in the course of their duty.
Personnel who were not involved in tank entry and whose usual place of duty was Hangar 255, 260, 277 or 278  at RAAF Base Amberley during the period 1977 – 1982, 1991 – 1993 and 1996 – 2000.

Additional informationPersonnel described are those for whom their normal place of work was Hangars 255, 260, 277 and 278 at RAAF Base Amberley and who provided direct support to those staff entering F-111 fuel tanks. This does not include those personnel who may have regularly visited these hangars in the course of their duty.
9. Motor transport drivers N/A N/A Motor transport drivers involved in the first deseal/reseal program, at RAAF Base Amberley, who came into contact with aviation fuel contaminated with deseal/reseal by-products during the period 1977-1982.

Additional information:  Personnel described do not include motor transport drivers employed as fuel tank drivers who may have been responsible for de-fuelling F-111 aircraft prior to deseal/reseal activities being undertaken.
10. Canvas personnel and/or Rag Hangar dismantling workers N/A N/A Maintenance personnel on the air transportable (‘Rag’) Hangar, at RAAF Base Amberley, who were involved in removing/replacing canvas or dismantling the Hangar during 1978, 1980 and 1984.
11. Engine Test Cell No 1 personnel N/A N/A Personnel employed in Engine Test Cell No 1, at RAAF Base Amberley, during the period 1976 – 1986.
12.  Warrill Creek Settling Pond – barrier maintenance personnel N/A N/A Personnel who entered the Warrill Creek Settling Pond for the purpose of maintaining the physical barrier during the period 1977– 2000.

Additional information: Personnel described in this category include any Department of Construction workers who undertook these duties during the period. However, this category does not include Airfield Defence Guards, Ground Defence Officers or other personnel who may have entered Warrill Creek for any other purpose or reason.

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Definition of Group 1 and Group 2 participants

Definition of Group 1 and Group 2 participants, (for the purposes of accessing health care benefits).

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How do I have my Tier Classification or Group 1 status classified?

You can apply to have your Tier Classification or Group 1 status decided by completing form D9021: Application for Tier Classification by an F-111 deseal/reseal program participant or F-111 fuel tank entry maintenance worker

Representatives from the estates of deceased workers can also apply, with form D9022: Application for Tier Classification by the estate of an F-111 deseal/reseal program participant or F-111 fuel tank entry maintenance worker

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Can I get help filling out my application for Tier ?

Air Force Military Compensation Liaison Office

The Air Force Military Compensation Liaison Office (MCLO) is available to assist both current and former Air Force personnel in their application for Tier Classification and applications for benefits under the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986 and the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988.

The MCLO is available to work with applicants to provide advice on eligibility under the health care, compensation and ex gratia payment schemes, assist applicants to gather the necessary supporting evidence and prepare and submit claim forms  to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA).  The MCLO can continue to assist applicants by monitoring progress, liaising directly with DVA and sourcing and providing additional evidence in support of a claim.

The MCLO is a source of impartial advice and assistance in relation to the preparation, submission and progression of claims.

The MCLO is not able to provide advice or assistance in relation to compensation more generally.  Applicant’s seeking advice about the full range of their rights to compensation, including advice about litigation and common law claims, should seek independent legal advice.

The MCLO is not able to act as an advocate for applicants. Advocacy services in relation to claims with the DVA are available through external support organisations, such as the Returned Services League (RSL).  Applicant’s should contact their local DVA Office or RSL branch for information about the range of services available.

Contacting the MCLO

Telephone: 1800 558 022
Facsimile: (07) 5461 4561
Mobile Telephone: 0407 210 689

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Statutory Declarations

The use of statutory declarations recognises the particular issues that may be encountered by F-111 fuel tank maintenance personnel, in the absence of official records. Fact sheet F111-05 explains how to use statutory declarations in these cases. The fact sheet is available on this website, or you can phone the F-111 Team at DVA on 1800 555 323 and we will post one to you.

When considering your application for Tier classification and claims for compensation and health care benefits, DVA takes into account official records including your service records and pay slips. In the absence of evidence to the contrary and/or where usual documentary evidence is not available, or is inconclusive, a statutory declaration by yourself (the applicant) confirming that you carried out eligible deseal/reseal work or other F-111 fuel tank maintenance involving fuel tank entry prior to January 2000), will be considered as evidence in determining eligibility for Tier 1, 2 or 3 classification.

Your statutory declaration is to be accompanied, where possible, by a second corroborating statutory declaration, from:

  • a commanding officer; or
  • the person’s supervising trade NCO; or
  • a superior or co-worker who has already had a claim under the scheme approved.

If you have evidence of your F-111 fuel tank maintenance work, you do not have to use statutory declarations, although you can if you wish to (eg, where your evidence is perhaps not strong). However, if you have no work-related evidence, then you will need to use statutory declaration/s for your claim - one from yourself, and a second statutory declaration from someone (as above) who can corroborate your statement. If you cannot remember the name/s of such persons, or if you cannot contact them, please provide your own statutory declaration and call the DVA F-111 implementation team on the number above. DVA will try to find evidence, or contact your nominated persons (with your permission), or provide an alternative person to corroborate your statutory declaration.

Information about what to provide in a statutory declaration, and who can provide them, is detailed in Fact Sheet F111- 05 Statutory Declarations for F-111 claims.

You can download this word copy of a Statutory Declaration (Word 26 Kb), to use with your Tier classification application.

More information is also available in the Guidelines for using Statutory Declarations in applications for Tier classification (PDF 28 Kb)

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