At home on the range

Published on Department of Defence (author), ABIS James McDougall (photographer)

Location(s): West Head Gunnery Range, Vic

Topic(s): HMAS Cerberus, West Head Gunnery Range

76mmn Proof Firing at West Head Gunnery Range.
 (photo: )
76mmn Proof Firing at West Head Gunnery Range.

Occupying an area of about 16 hectares on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria, West Head Gunnery Range is one of the world’s few remaining shore-to-sea live firing training sites. With its location comes some difficulty in accessing services that most Navy personnel have at hand – the answer, taking them to the Range.

A team of representatives from Estate and Infrastructure Group’s Service Delivery Division and Defence Security and Vetting Services recently visited West Head Gunnery Range as a ‘pop-up kiosk’ to provide on-site customer services to the remote workforce.

Officer-in-Charge of the Range, Lieutenant Commander Peter Arnold said his team appreciated the opportunity to engage with the visiting staff and talk with them about a number of services, from ICT assistance, personnel policy, and estate issues.

“They were able to ask questions and have their issues resolved on the spot,” Lieutenant Commander Arnold said.

“It saved an hour of travel time and lost productivity with a great outcome for the sailors.

“The pop-up kiosks are great because they focus on the customer and their needs.

“They also represent how the department can be more agile in the way it delivers services,” he said.

The team at the range provide gunnery training for the Navy on a historical site that was originally used by Australian Colonial Forces in the 1890s as a shore battery to deter a possible Russian invasion of Australia's southern coastline.

The Australian Army used it during the Second World War as a defensive site against a possible invasion into Western Port Bay, with the Navy taking it over in 1956 and since operating the site for live fire gunnery training for close range and medium calibre weapons.

Acting Base Support Manager at local command, HMAS Cerberus, Les Moseley, said bringing services to the unique workplace was having a positive impact on sailors.

“The team at West Head Gunnery Range worked together and where they couldn’t provide an on-site resolution, they followed up with a relevant service enabler who contacted the customer directly,” he said.

“Overall, it was a positive experience for the sailors. They accessed high-quality, better-connected services that were responsive to their needs,” he said.

Since May 2016, 43 localised Defence service providers have trialled new ways to improve service delivery at regional bases around Australia.