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Monday, 14 October 2002
Page: 5094


Senator Webber asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice, on 27 August 2002:

(1) What cities in Australia have a regular military band permanently stationed there.

(2) In what circumstances would a regular military band be stationed at Perth.

(3) Does the role played by Regular Military Bands in non-military situations outweigh the economic criteria used in determining whether a band is stationed in a particular location or not.


Senator Hill (Minister for Defence) —The answer to the honourable senator's question is as follows:

(1) Permanent Navy bands are located in NSW and VIC as follows:

Sydney (HMAS Kuttabul); and

Melbourne (HMAS Cerberus).

Permanent Army bands are located in QLD, NSW, ACT and VIC as follows:

Townsville (1st Battalion the Royal Australian Regiment);

Brisbane;

Sydney;

Wagga Wagga (Army Recruit Training Centre);

Canberra (Royal Military College); and

Melbourne (collocated with, and directly supporting, the Defence Force School of Music).

Permanent Air Force bands are located in NSW and VIC as follows:

Richmond (RAAF Base Richmond); and

Laverton (RAAF Base Williams).

(2) Navy: Positioning a permanent band in Perth would only be considered if a clear benefit to Navy could be demonstrated. However, any new band would also have to come from within existing resources. Considerations include annual ceremonial requirements, base support requirements, and worthwhile public relations opportunities. Navy Headquarters is currently examining the feasibility of establishing a band in Western Australia.

Army: It is considered unlikely that a permanent facility would be provided unless there was a substantial increase in ceremonial activities or in the number of Army units.

Air Force: Positioning a permanent band in Perth would only be considered if there was a requirement for musical support for a significant number of military, or State and Federal Government ceremonial activities each year; for RAAF Base support; and for significant public relations opportunities in the community. The locations of the two Air Force bands reflect the command and control arrangements for each and their specific roles as defined by the Chief of Air Force. The fact that the east coast of Australia has the major population centres has been a determining factor for the bands' locations and enables the bands to provide significant support to all major Defence establishments in eastern and northern Australia.

(3) Navy: The criteria for locating Navy's musicians are primarily based on ceremonial and musical support requirements. Currently, there is a strong ceremonial requirement in Sydney and Melbourne. The Sydney band is heavily involved in fleet ceremonial, base and ship support, and wider public relations activities. The Melbourne band provides direct support to the Initial Training Faculty at HMAS Cerberus, and for base support and wider public relations activities. Both bands are located close to high population centres, and the Navy's bands can easily extend their reach to Brisbane, Adelaide and other regional areas. Their location allows them to maintain access to a large area, thereby enhancing the Navy's public image while simultaneously fulfilling valuable ceremonial and base support functions.

Army: The primary role of Army bands is to support the needs of ceremonial and service occasions. The provision of community support, while considered important both to the community and to the strategic shaping of Army, is nevertheless a secondary role. Service band support provided to any area is, therefore, primarily related to the frequency of ceremonial tasks and the number and types of service units in the area.

It is considered that the support provided by the two Army Reserve bands (together with the Naval Reserve Band) is currently fulfilling all military needs in Western Australia. It should be noted that funding is provided for musicians from full-time bands to support the bands in Perth when necessary.

Air Force: Both Air Force bands are positioned to efficiently support their respective commands. Air Command Band regularly travels to support events in the Northern Territory, Queensland, New South Wales and Canberra; while the RAAF Central Band supports events in Victoria, Canberra, South Australia and Western Australia. RAAF Pearce regularly requests band support for No 2 Flying Training School Graduation Parades and the RAAF Central Band meets these requests whenever possible.