WA Loses Soldiers as the Army Expands

The number of full-time Australian Army personnel based in WA has fallen by 15 per cent over the past two decades, as the total army headcount nationally grew by 20 per cent in the same period, research reveals.

The data comes as WA Liberals push for an inquiry into the dwindling army presence in the State, with warnings the defence of WA’s vast coastline and natural resources is not being given priority by the military.

Research by the Federal Parliamentary Library shows that the total regular army headcount nationally had grown from 24,940 in 1997 to 30,161 in 2017, as the military undertook major overseas deployments to East Timor, Iraq and Afghanistan.

But in the same period the number of full-time, army personnel in WA fell by 15 per cent.

Other States such as South Australia saw growth in army personnel.

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