The raising of the 1st, 2nd 3rd and 4th Health Battalions

3 February 2022

It is an important day for Army and the 1st Health Battalion, which is raised today as the first of four new multi-role health battalions that will enhance health support and capability across the Australian Army.

Army has always adapted to meet the challenges of the day and be ready for future demands. Over the past year, Army has strengthened command and control in Aviation, Special Operations, and the 2nd Division. It has also implemented new command and control arrangements for Army’s health units and changes to health employment categories. This includes the closure of 1st Psychology Unit at Randwick Barracks in Sydney in November 2021 as part of a restructure of Army’s health services that give personnel greater access to mental health care at the point of need.

This order recognises the raising of the 1st Health Battalion at Robertson Barracks in Darwin as the first of four new multi-role Health Battalions aligned to the major Defence concentrations in Townsville, Brisbane, Adelaide and Darwin. They integrate Army’s existing health units and increase the number of deployable health teams Army can generate and contribute towards the Joint Force.

In time, the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Health Battalions will be commanded by a Health Brigade Headquarters, which will raised as an independent formation in 2023 to provide capability assurance and specialist health advice.

These changes to Army’s health service capability enhance the provision to Garrison Health Services provided by the Joint Health Command. They reinforce the primacy of Joint Health Command in the delivery of clinical care in the domestic environment, enable a range of professionals to support the delivery of mental health care, and replicate health services provided in the civilian community. Mental health care tasks will be performed by personnel independently registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA), resulting in an increase in permanent positions for Psychology Officers and Army’s investment the provision of preventative mental health care for its people.

Patching and Flag Raising Ceremonies recognising the formation of the four new Health Battalions to the Army Order of Battle will occur in the coming weeks:

  • 1st Health Battalion, Robertson Barracks, Darwin – Thu 03 Feb 22
  • 2nd Health Battalion, Gallipoli Barracks, Enoggera – Tue 15 Feb 22
  • 3rd Health Battalion, Keswick Barracks, Adelaide – Tue 22 Feb 22
  • 4th Health Battalion, Lavarack Barracks, Townsville – Thu 17 Feb 22

At the centre of all these changes are our people – the officers and soldiers of Army’s health and support services, whose dedication, commitment and adaptability are the foundations of the success of our new Health Battalions.

Congratulations to the 1st Health Battalion for your establishment today, and to those units to be raised in the following weeks.

Good Soldiering.