Address by Chief of Army at 2nd Health Brigade Transfer of Authority Parade, Victoria Barracks, NSW, 03 March 2023
It is wonderful to be back on the land of the Gadigal people, the traditional custodians of Eora Nation, and I wish to pay my respects to their elders, past, present and emerging.
And because our Army has a long and very proud history of Indigenous service, I would like to also acknowledge all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and women who have contributed to the defence of Australia in times of peace and war.
Our Army is transforming to meet the demands of our Nation and its circumstances in the 21st Century.
Every one of us – every soldier, team unit and formation – is an integral part of that transformation.
We are introducing new and transformed capabilities into service, modernising our world-class combined arms fighting system, and enhancing the capability and capacity of our health, logistics, engineering and aviation capabilities.
We are evolving the way we command, manage and better organise to modernise, scale and contribute to mobilisation.
These efforts ensure our Army remains relevant and credible; adapting, evolving and transforming to make sure we remain Ready Now and Future Ready.
We come together for this parade to mark an important milestone in our Army’s ongoing transformation.
Today we recognise the re-raising of the 2nd Brigade, which will command our four health battalions as an independent formation in Forces Command.
Army’s deployable health capability was reorganised into four integrated, multi-role health battalions – positioning our combat health, mental health and allied health services closer to the point of most need across Australia.
From today, the health battalions will transfer to the 2nd Health Brigade from 17th Sustainment Brigade, to simplify the command of Army’s health capability and enhance clinical governance and technical assurance.
It gives our teams greater professional and technical integration, improves our ability to scale and add further health capacity as required.
With more than half of its members serving on a part-time basis, the 2nd Health Brigade harnesses the benefits of the total workforce by drawing on the specialist skills and experience of medical professionals across the civilian health system.
These changes will serve to increase our ability to attract and retain qualified health professionals from the civilian health system, while allowing Army to invest in capability and capacity across the country.
They will also improve our ability to scale.
With these changes there is a sense of continuity.
As we re-raise the 2nd Brigade today to deliver on Army’s health reform, we create a link between our Army’s past and future.
The 2nd Brigade was first raised in 1903 as part of the Citizens Military Forces in Victoria, and served with distinction as an infantry formation of the Australian Imperial Force on Gallipoli, in France and in Belgium during the First World War.
The brigade carried out garrison duties in Western Australia and in Darwin during the Second World War and was disbanded in early 1945.
And we just saw a few moments ago, the awarding of the ‘East Timor 1999-2003’ Theatre Honour to 1st and 2nd Health Battalions in recognition of the distinguished service of the 1st Field Hospital and the 2nd Health Support Battalion in East Timor.
We build upon this strong foundation today which serves to strengthen our focus to our current missions and tasks.
And for the 2nd Brigade, that mission is to generate deployable health capabilities to support the joint force in times of peace and war.
1,700 trained and capable medical and non-clinical staff come together across all states and territories today for the first time as the 2nd Health Brigade.
To the officers and soldiers of the 2nd Health Brigade, 17th Sustainment Brigade and Forces Command who have all made these important changes to occur – thank you for your dedication and professionalism.
It is your service, commitment and adaptability that is the foundation of success for our Army’s new health brigade.
Congratulations 2nd Health Brigade.
LTGEN Simon Stuart, AO DSC
Chief of Army