ANTI-TERRORISM security staff at the Holsworthy Barracks will be cut.
The exact number of cuts to the Holsworthy Barracks has not yet been confirmed but about 110 protective service officers will be taken off guard at Defence bases across the country.
These officers are unsworn Australian Federal Police employees specially trained in counter-terrorism.
They were brought into active duty after a foiled terrorist attack on the Holsworthy Barracks in 2009.
The security cuts have come about amid rising budget constraints for Defence services.
A hiring freeze was imposed in August, and Defence launched special project Ampla to reduce its spending on protective service officers as it struggles with budget cuts imposed by the previous government.
Resulting gaps from these cuts will be filled by security guards provided by private-sector contractors.
But Defence chief General David Hurley said funding cuts weren't behind the decision. He said a security-risk assessment found a reduced requirement for protective service officers at some sites. "Any reductions or changes to security status at our bases are done after a proper physical security assessment and not on budget reductions," he said.
The national secretary of the Community and Public Sector Union, Nadine Flood, said cutting the protective service officers was short-sighted and potentially dangerous. She said the decision should be overturned.
"Defence appears to be downgrading security at bases not because they have suddenly become safer but because they're under budgetary pressures," she said. "Getting rid of dedicated staff with specialist anti-terrorist first-response skills is bad. The government employs these officers to do this important work. Anything less is second best and, frankly, not good enough when it comes to security."