Australia — New phase for Operation Queensland Flood Assist

The ADF response to Queens­land Flood Assist, Joint Task Force 637 (JTF637), today enters a new phase, pro­vid­ing more spe­cial­ist sup­port to the post-flood recon­struc­tion efforts.
JTF637 Com­man­der Brigadier Paul McLach­lan not­ed his appre­ci­a­tion for more than 1900 per­son­nel from all three ser­vices who had pro­vid­ed sup­port to this point in the oper­a­tion, includ­ing approx­i­mate­ly 1200 ADF per­son­nel still involved in recov­ery efforts.

“The effort by our sailors, sol­diers and air­men thus far has been tremen­dous,” Brigadier McLach­lan said.

“Our men and women, work­ing around flood-affect­ed areas of Queens­land, have worked hard to meet the goals set for them by emer­gency-man­age­ment author­i­ties.” Now that the ini­tial response and recov­ery efforts are com­plete, the evolv­ing mis­sion focus will be on pro­vid­ing increased spe­cial­ist sup­port in areas such as Grantham and Murphy’s Creek in the Lock­y­er Val­ley.

“Since JTF637 per­son­nel arrived in the Lock­y­er Val­ley in the days after the ter­ri­ble flash floods, hun­dreds of sol­diers have con­tin­ued to search the area along­side police and the SES.

“An engi­neer­ing task group of approx­i­mate­ly 300 per­son­nel, using a range of heavy plant equip­ment, will remain in the Lock­y­er Val­ley to assist with search tasks and to sup­port local author­i­ties with the con­tin­u­ing clean up.”

Brigadier McLach­lan said oth­er work con­tin­ued around Queens­land to help in recov­ery efforts.

JTF637 Naval ves­sels and divers con­tin­ue to sur­vey the Bris­bane Riv­er to locate and iden­ti­fy debris that has the poten­tial to pose nav­i­ga­tion­al haz­ards or oth­er prob­lems. “Teams of envi­ron­men­tal-health spe­cial­ists con­tin­ue to sup­port local gov­ern­ments in reduc­ing risk in areas such as a surge in mos­qui­to breed­ing and haz­ardous debris left after the flood­ing.

“Mil­i­tary psy­cho­log­i­cal sup­port teams are work­ing with Queens­land Health to enhance the lev­el of care that can be offered to peo­ple who have suf­fered as a result of the dis­as­ter.” Brigadier McLach­lan said per­son­nel who con­tin­ued to work as part of JTF637 remained focused on reach­ing the end of the oper­a­tion.

“As we move towards com­plet­ing our mis­sion, local coun­cils are tak­ing car­riage of the recon­struc­tion tasks,” he said.

“This ensures the local com­mu­ni­ty is involved and can ben­e­fit eco­nom­i­cal­ly from the rebuild­ing effort.”

A large num­ber of per­son­nel are now return­ing to their units and our air­craft have returned to their bases, how­ev­er, Defence Force per­son­nel and equip­ment remain on stand­by to return to action at short notice if required.

The ADF remains com­mit­ted to pro­vid­ing all nec­es­sary sup­port to Oper­a­tion Queens­land Flood Assist as required by the emer­gency-man­age­ment author­i­ties.

Press release
Min­is­te­r­i­al Sup­port and Pub­lic Affairs,
Depart­ment of Defence,
Can­ber­ra, Aus­tralia

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