Powered by MOMENTUM MEDIA

Website Notifications

Get notifications in real-time for staying up to date with content that matters to you.

Senator calls for Two Army Policy

lancelin defence training area
The Lancelin Defence Training Area, north of Perth. Image via Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence.

A West Australian Liberal senator is calling on the government to adopt a Two Army Policy that emulates the Two Ocean Navy Policy put into effect in 1987.

A West Australian Liberal senator is calling on the government to adopt a Two Army Policy that emulates the Two Ocean Navy Policy put into effect in 1987.

Senator Dean Smith will push the government for the policy, after obtaining research that shows only 864 full-time regular Army soldiers, out of the nearly 30,000 personnel nationwide, are based in WA.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Senator Smith said he was surprised to learn that South Australia has 70 per cent more personnel than WA, despite its smaller coastline and its situation on the southern part of the continent.

"The research shows that Western Australia has the second-lowest permanent Army force, compared to Queensland with 12,394 and South Australia with 1,476," Senator Smith said.

"The only state or territory with less of an Army presence than WA is Tasmania, which has less than 70 personnel. This is despite the fact that 56 per cent of Australia’s coastline is astride to the Indian Ocean compared to just 27 per cent for the Pacific Ocean and 17 per cent for the Southern Ocean."

The senator said the strategic significance of having more personnel is emphasised not only by its geographical location, but also by the state's abundance of natural resources.

"WA accounts for 78 per cent of Australia’s crude oil, 92 per cent of natural gas, 49 per cent of global iron ore production and some of the world’s largest reserves of lithium," he said.

PROMOTED CONTENT

"It is an unfortunate fact that over the past four decades, the regular Army presence in WA has been greatly diminished."

The senator will call for an inquiry into the merits of a two-armies policy, noting that an unofficial Two Army Policy was implemented during World War II and by December 1942, of 23 brigades deployed throughout Australia, six were based near Perth, which amounted to 26 per cent of Australia’s combat forces.

"In 2018, it is my intention to call for a Senate inquiry to establish a Two Army Policy where a significant proportion of regular Army personnel are stationed in Western Australia as well as the east coast," Senator Smith said.

"Such an inquiry is timely given the volatility in the Indian Ocean region and the potential challenges that our nation may face in the future."

The senator said he also understood the WA-based reserve unit, 13th Brigade, was now commanded by an Adelaide-based Army Reserve brigadier who will visit WA on a fly-in, fly-out basis for at least one year.

"The scaling back of the regular Army presence in WA has occurred at a time when much of the global economic and political instability is taking place in the Indian Ocean region where our personnel have been regularly deployed in recent years to locations such as Iraq and Afghanistan," he said.

A review of the Australian Defence Force's structure of military units was previously undertaken under the Gillard government by then defence minister Stephen Smith, also of WA.

Upon completion of the review, the Department of Defence committed to a major exercise in WA’s north each year, flying in elements of east coast army units to show the military could mobilise quickly to meet any threat to the west coast.

Senator calls for Two Army Policy
Lancelin-Defence-Training-Area.jpg
lawyersweekly logo

The inaugural Defence Connect AIC Summit will place you with key decision-makers and stakeholders within the defence industry to discuss the government’s intention to improve AIC and increase the nation’s sovereign production, defence capability and resilience. Don’t miss your chance to be part of this event, register for free today to attend the live stream on 22 October. Register your interest to attend, visit: www.defenceconnect.com.au/aic-summit

more from defence connect

Sep 28 2021
Timely realisation of the Australian nuclear submarine force
Former RAN officer Chris Skinner explains how Australia could fill a potential capability gap exposed ahead of the delivery of a ...
Sep 28 2021
Thales Australia wins Boxer CRV subcontract
The defence contractor has been selected to support the local development of Army’s next-generation combat vehicles. ...
Sep 28 2021
Tasmania grows New Zealand market with sale of tactical watercraft
Tasmanian company PFG has cracked open the naval seaboat market securing a contract with The Royal New Zealand Navy for advanced 1...