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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 15368

A Stronger Army for Australia

Photo of Howard, John

Howard, John

Period of Service: 11/03/1996 to 03/12/2007

More information about Howard, John on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 02/10/2007

Release Type: Media Release

Transcript ID: 15368

I am pleased to announce the Army's second additional battalion will be based at Gallipoli Barracks, Enoggera in south-east Queensland under Stage 2 of the Australian Government's Enhanced Land Force initiative. Implementation of the second stage of this initiative will see the 8th/9th Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment (8/9 RAR) re-established as the Army's second additional battalion, with support elements, at a cost in the order of $4.5 billion over 10 years. Today's announcement marks a further down payment on our commitment to a larger, more versatile and more capable Army suited to an uncertain strategic environment. The commencement of Stage Two has been made possible by the successful establishment of 7 RAR under the first stage of the Enhanced Land Force initiative. It is on track to be available for operational deployment in 2010. This success has been made possible by the Government's significant investment in ADF recruitment and retention, which this year has produced the best recruitment result in a decade and one of the best in 30 years.

As a result, by 2010 Australia will have eight regular Army battalions (up from five in 1996), each with greater strength and better equipment, mobility, combat weight and networked capabilities. The Enhanced Land Force will boost Australia's capacity to meet future regional and global security challenges. At an overall cost of around $10 billion, it has only been possible because of the sustained growth of the Australian economy under my Government.

The 8th/9th Battalion will be re-raised from 31 October 2007 (the battalion's birthday) and fully deployable by 2010. It will be equipped with the Australian-made Bushmaster Infantry Mobility Vehicle.

I am also pleased to announce that the Government has committed a further $80.2 million for Stage 1 of the redevelopment of facilities at Gallipoli Barracks. This redevelopment will provide a new combined messing facility, office accommodation and upgraded engineering services. Subject to Parliamentary approvals, construction will begin in mid-2008 with completion expected in early 2011. This is in addition to some $900 million that will be spent on facilities for 8/9 RAR under Stage 2 of the Enhanced Land Force.

Together, these large capital investments will bring substantial economic benefits to the Brisbane region over coming years. Defence expects up to 500 jobs to be created during the construction period alone. Around 1,200 new Army jobs will be created in south-eastern Queensland, with significant flow-on advantages for the community over the longer term.

Transcript 15368