Staff from the Amphibious Task Group embarked in HMAS Adelaide have been forging close ties and collaborative relationships with regional authorities supporting efforts ashore during Operation Bushfire Assist.

Over the past 10 days the Amphibious Task Group (ATG) has coordinated the introduction of Naval Liaison Officers to regional towns, and landed engineering support and medical teams to assist fire-affected communities.

To contribute to the success of this high level of support, the ATG has leveraged the on board expertise of two emergency services members embedded with the Task Group at sea.

Chief Superintendent Chris Ryder from the New South Wales Rural Fire Service (RFS) has joined the ATG as a liaison officer.

Their teams have been at it for more the 120 days and it’s an outstanding effort that we and all Australians appreciate.

Chief Superintendent Ryder is one of the RFS Headquarters State operations managers.

He has been working with the Task Group to enhance mutual sharing of skills and provision of knowledge and expertise in fire operations ashore.

“This has been an amazing experience, the team has made me feel very welcome and I now have a better understanding of what skills and support can be provided by a ship like Adelaide,” he said.

Chris is joined at sea by his colleague from New South Wales Police - Inspector Ray Stynes from Nowra.

Inspector Stynes has shared how emergency management arrangements work within New South Wales and facilitated integration of processes and communication between the agencies involved.

“The opportunity to be here has been fantastic, we have learned off each other,” Inspector Stynes said. 

“We’ve gained some valuable insights and I’m confident they’ve gained some important lessons as well."

The learning opportunity gained from the collaboration has not been lost on the Commander of the Amphibious Task Group, Captain Leif Maxfield.

“Having Chris and Ray here has brought a new perspective and greater understanding to the team of how we can employ Defence and Amphibious assets to support the tasks ashore during the bushfire crisis,” Captain Maxfield said.

“Lessons learnt include how we can access RFS services, how we can work to locate Navy Liaison Officers and target specific locations to provide back up to equipment and services.

“What an amazing job the emergency services have been doing.

“Their teams have been at it for more the 120 days and it’s an outstanding effort that we and all Australians appreciate."