ADF personnel are assisting Emergency Management Victoria respond to the recent spike in COVID-19 cases across Melbourne, which has required a substantial increase in public coronavirus testing. 

Battery commander of Army’s 2/10 Field Regiment Major James Eling is a strategic planner embedded with the Victorian Government’s State Control Centre (SCC).

“My team looks at how we achieve the overall effect of testing so many people, the logistics considerations, safety, risk management and developing lessons learnt,” Major Eling said.

“We have people from a wide range of government organisations and very few are co-located so there is a significant number of variables and a lot of information we don’t have.”

Along with those complexities, the planners need to consider the requirements of different tasks.

“It’s a complex problem because there are many languages and cultures involved, as well as encouraging people to participate in testing,” Major Eling said.

“The timeframe for developing the testing processes have been tight.”

Emergency Management Commissioner Victoria Andrew Crisp said ADF personnel had integrated well in the planning process.

“We called on the ADF to support us in what they do well, which is planning, logistics and emergency management intelligence,” Commissioner Crisp said.

“The planning methodology that the ADF has brought to the SCC is useful and we’ve been educating a lot of people in it.”

He also talked about the specific skills and mindset Defence provides.

“What’s really impacted on me is that the ADF brings such incredible technical expertise and skills,” Commissioner Crisp said.

“The behaviour and attitude of ADF members and the way they go about their work in such a humble way, they are just pleased to be part of the operation to support what’s going on.”

Commissioner Crisp said there were other advantages to having a visible ADF partnership.

“It’s also about comfort for the community when they see the uniform,” Commissioner Crisp said.

“We saw that during the bushfires time and time again. I saw it then and I’m seeing it now. To everyone, thank you.”