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Wednesday, 8 December 1971
Page: 4278

Mr BARNARD (BASS, TASMANIA) - I direct a question to the Minister for the Army. What impact has the cutback in the total strength of the Army from 44,000 to 40,000 had on the strength of units of the Royal Australian Regiment? In particular, what effect has it had on the strength of the 6th Battalion, the 1.08th Field Battery and the 9th Field Squadron which are stationed in Singapore?

Mr PEACOCK - The brief answer to the honourable member's question, the full reply to which would require the enunciation of the figures over a period to show trends, is firstly that the full effects of the cutback caused as a consequence of the reduction in the period of national service have not been felt completely because it is operating through the months of November, December and January. As a consequence, to go into all the details would be quite impossible even if figures were here. In regard to those forces which comprise elements within the ANZUK group to which the honourable member referred - not only the field battery but also 6 RAR - the fact is that these elements, particularly the battalion that is there, have been operating under the normal strength of a battalion as we would see it if it were operating in Vietnam, because the prime purpose of the battalion in Singapore is different from that of a battalion in Vietnam. Of course, it is a component within the overall concept of the ANZUK force with New Zealand and the United Kingdom. I will convey the actual figures to the honourable member, but that is the broad outline of what I think is the correct reply to the question that he posed.

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