Australian Defence Force personnel across Australia are gearing up to further support the aged-care sector, following a request from Emergency Management Australia.

The Australian Government announced Defence is expanding its contribution to the whole-of-government support to aged-care facilities by 200 personnel, with up to 1700 ADF personnel available to provide support across Australia.

Commander ADF COVID-19 Task Force Rear Admiral Robert Plath is leading the planning and coordination team at the Department of Health to support the aged-care sector as part of Operation COVID-19 Assist.

“A 17-person planning and coordination team is already integrating with the Department of Health team in Canberra,” Rear Admiral Plath said.

“We will work with the Department of Health to understand how Defence can best further support the aged-care sector.

“Defence is committing up to 1700 personnel and they will be used to augment existing health response teams, we will also create our own 10-person standing force teams, and the bulk of ADF personnel will support high-priority facilities around the country.”

The 10-person ADF standing force teams will initially support aged-care facilities in Queensland, Victoria, South Australia and New South Wales, with other states to follow. These teams will include team leaders, registered and enrolled nurses, and supporting personnel. The Department of Health will decide where to place the teams.

Lieutenant Colonel Anne Oliver is part of the planning and coordination team at the Department of Health in Canberra.

“I’m really happy to be part of the team within the Department of Health supporting their response to COVID-19 in aged-care facilities,” Lieutenant Colonel Oliver said.

“Coming from Army Headquarters enables me to understand what Defence support is available in a given region to further support our on-the-ground teams and to support the broader effort.”

Around 200 ADF personnel are currently completing induction training in Brisbane, Adelaide and virtually in preparation for the surge in support.

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