How to send Christmas parcels to ADF on ops

Defence will continue to provide a system for the public to send care parcels to our deployed personnel for Christmas 2017, though they have also suggested a sensible alternative this year – rather than sending a parcel please consider making a lasting contribution to Defence personnel and their families by donating to the RSL, Legacy or other veteran-support charities.

CAPTIONTask Group Taji postie Australian Army soldier Corporal Cassandra Rice is surrounded by work in the mail room at the Taji Military Complex, Iraq. Photo by Able Seaman Chris Beerens.

But, if you want to send a Christmas care parcel to our troops overseas, there is no change to existing Defence subsidised postal arrangements for family and friends to send mail and parcels to their deployed loved ones and mates, and free postage for parcels under 2kg.

The RSL Australian Forces Overseas Fund prepares care packages that are dispatched twice yearly to Defence personnel deployed on operations. These care packs contain various non-perishable items, a letter of appreciation on behalf of all Australians and RSL Membership contact details. Importantly, these packs are professionally prepared and meet all Defence and host nation transport and import requirements. Donations to the RSL Australian Forces Overseas Fund can be made online. Donations over $2 are tax deductible and every donation is individually acknowledged by the RSL.

For members of the public who still wish to send general care parcels to deployed personnel over the Christmas 2017 period, the Australian Forces Post Office address below will be open from Monday 6 November to Friday 8 December 2017.

An Australian Defence Member
Australian Defence Force NSW 2890

In order to ensure an equitable distribution of parcels it is requested that donations are gender-neutral, and addressed to ‘An Australian Defence Member’, not to a specific job title, trade, unit or individual.

Unfortunately Defence can not accept care packages for Military Working Dogs or Explosive Detection Dogs due to strict care requirements relating to both their diet and their training programs.

To ensure that all items are able to be delivered to our deployed forces, donors are asked to ensure that packages contain non-perishable goods only. Previous experience has shown that items that are not robustly packaged can break open during transit, which can lead to infestation and spoilage of perishable goods.

All items must be submitted to an Australia Post outlet by the cut-off date of Friday 8 December 2017 and meet the requirements and restrictions detailed on this page.

Please ensure that parcels do not contain alcohol, pornography or culturally offensive / inappropriate written material.

Please note that general care parcels received by Defence after Friday 8 December 2017, and those that exceed our ability to distribute to deployed personnel, will be donated to Australian charities such as the Salvation Army.


Postal charges

Defence will cover the cost of postage up to a cubed weight of 2kg to all operational zones. For items exceeding 2kg, the full cost will need to be covered by the individual posting the item.


Cubic charging

Cubic volume calculation charges are applied to all parcels. Australia Post assesses charges for all parcels according to their actual weight or cubic weight equivalent and charges whichever is greater. This applies to light bulky items that, while they may not weigh a lot, take up valuable freight space. Cubic charging is a fairer system for all, because prices reflect the costs involved in handling a variety of different sized parcels.


Parcel limitations

If you wish to send a Care Package at Defence cost, the following weight and size limitations must not be exceeded:

  • Maximum weight 2kg;
  • Not exceed the cubed 2kg dimensions, noting an Australia Post “Bx2” box is the maximum permissible size of 2kg cubic weight; and
  • Packaging: Articles must be packed in durable packaging, which is suitably secured, in order to withstand a large volume of weight and handling.


Weight of item

Australia Post does not determine weight in part kilograms. Parcels that weigh part kilograms will be rounded up to the nearest full kg. For example, if your parcel weighs 2.2 kg then you will pay the cost of the 2.2 kg rounded up to the nearest full kg (3kg) and you will be charged for the full 3kg.


Packaging of postal items

In general, all parcels must be made-up and packed to a standard which will:

  • Prevent injury to the person handling the parcel;
  • Prevent the contents escaping, leaking and damaging other postal articles;
  • Prevent damage to equipment and vehicles, particularly aircraft;
  • Protect the contents from loss or damage caused by the stress of handling and carriage; and
  • Protect the contents from loss or damage caused by the extremes of climate.

Australia Post provides a very detailed guide that covers suitable packaging for all types of goods. It can be found at the Australia Post website and should be referred to prior to posting items to ensure that they are packaged appropriately. Items that are packaged inappropriately may be returned to the sender, or may need to be destroyed.


Prohibited goods

Certain items must not be posted in the domestic and or international postal system. This includes items such as dangerous goods, items prohibited by the International Aviation Transport Association and items that are prohibited by individual countries. Australia Post’s Dangerous and Prohibited Goods and Packaging Guide is the best reference to use to ensure that you do not send any prohibited items. If in doubt, seek advice from Australia Post staff at your nearest retail outlet.


Liquid articles

The sending of liquid articles is strongly discouraged. However, if you must send a liquid product, it must be enclosed in a leak-proof container made of metal, plastic or similar material with secure closures. A suitable example of this would be a zip lock bag, placed inside another. The outer package must be strong enough to withstand large volumes of weight. Furthermore, the package must contain sawdust, cotton-wool or another protective material to absorb the liquid should the container break.


Tobacco and alcohol

Tobacco and alcohol are not acceptable for goodwill care packages and are not to be sent.


Customs declaration

A customs declaration must be attached to all parcels sent to an Australian Forces Post Office. Small envelopes, containing items other than letters (i.e. CDs, USB thumb drives, etc) are required to have a customs declaration attached. These can be obtained from all Australia Post outlets within Australia. A detailed description of the contents is required when lodging each item.

Further information is available on the Department of Immigration and Border Protection Internet site.


Humanitarian mail

Australian Forces Post Office 60 is established to provide public goodwill to deployed personnel. This service is not to be used for any other material or purpose, including humanitarian aid, which includes, but is not limited to, toys, books and clothing for other than an individual Australian Serviceman or Servicewoman.

Mail is not to be addressed to individuals for AFPO 60 under any circumstances.


Who is serving overseas?

Numbers of Defence personnel on operation
Operation Location Personnel Government Mandate
Accordion Middle East Region 500 Ongoing
Aslan Sudan 20 Reviewed Annually
Manitou Middle East Region 241 Ongoing
Mazurka Eqypt 25 Ongoing
Okra Middle East Region and Iraq 780 Ongoing
Paladin Israel/Lebanon 12 Reviewed Annually
Resolute Australian Maritime Interests 500 Ongoing
Highroad Afghanistan 270 Ongoing
Southern Indian Ocean Southern Indian Ocean 2 Ongoing








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Posted by Brian Hartigan

Managing Editor Contact Publishing Pty Ltd PO Box 3091 Minnamurra NSW 2533 AUSTRALIA

One thought on “How to send Christmas parcels to ADF on ops

  • 05/10/2020 at 9:55 am

    The information on this page is dated 2017
    What has changed in 2020?
    Are there any added COVID restrictions?
    Are the dates still applicable? Dec seems late?
    I send a Christmas parcel every year and I’m keen to do so this year but want to check on Any 2020 updates
    Kind regards
    Debra Armstrong


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