ADF Emergency Support Force concludes mission in Central Queensland
13 March 2015
Australian Defence Force troops tasked with assisting the communities of Rockhampton, Yeppoon and Byfield in the wake of Tropical Cyclone Marcia, today completed their mission.
The first military responders in the wake of Tropical Cyclone Marcia were members of the Army Reserve’s 11th Brigade, 31st/42nd Royal Queensland Regiment, which is located in the Rockhampton region.
These troops were followed by the Engineering Support Group (ESG), a task group of about 200 soldiers from Townsville’s 3rd Brigade, along with specialist liaison and command staff supported by MRH90 Taipan multi-role helicopters, which were used for reconnaissance and liaison tasks.
Based on the 3rd Combat Engineer Regiment, the ESG played an important role in supporting the local community and emergency services.
Commanding Officer of the ESG, Lieutenant Colonel John Daunt said Army’s ability to swiftly move into the area and commence operations highlighted the resources, experience and equipment available to the deploying troops.
“We definitely hit the ground running, and within hours of our arrival we had multiple teams out in the community undertaking large scale clearance and recovery operations,” LTCOL Daunt said.
“This included the removal of fallen and damaged trees, dangerous debris and the restoration of access to isolated areas within the region.
“We also supported the re-establishment of essential services and assisted in mitigating against the threat of bushfire, which arose as a result of so much devastation in the more heavily vegetated areas.
“Members of the Engineer Support Group also cleared debris from schools and community areas and undertook minor construction projects.”
During the three-week mission the ESG completed the following tasks:
- The clean-up and clearance of 15 schools in Rockhampton, Byfield and Yeppoon;
- The clean-up and clearance of the Rockhampton Botanical Gardens and Zoo as well as the Kershaw Botanical Gardens, all of which suffered severe damage in the cyclone;
- The clearance of more than five kilometres of strategic and tactical firebreaks in the Byfield area;
- The establishment of a community burn pit to safely dispose of green waste in Byfield;
- The clean-up and clearance of 18 major road culverts in Rockhampton and Biloela;
- Clean-up and clearance as well as minor repairs to a Byfield wildlife sanctuary; and
- Construction of playground seating and shade structures at the Byfield Community Centre and primary school.
LTCOL Daunt said restoring access to public places such as the Botanical Gardens in Rockhampton was a major step towards re-establishing a feeling of normalcy for the community.
“It was tough, demanding work in arduous conditions and I’m very proud of the work undertaken by every member of the ESG and the local Army Reservists who were first on the scene and provided invaluable assistance to the community,” he said.
The Australian Defence Force thanks the local community and emergency services for their support to the deployed troops.
Images of the ADF Emergency Support Force in action in Central Queensland are available at http://images.defence.gov.au/S20150396
Defence Media Operations (02) 6127 1999