The ADF is contributing to the whole-of-government response to the COVID-19 pandemic with a range of logistical and personnel support. Defence has prepared responses to a range of contingencies through the Emergency Management Australia-led response.

As of 0900 4 April 2020

National - Approximately 1200 personnel are deployed as part of Operation COVID-19 Assist

  • The Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC, announced Operation COVID-19 Assist on April 1, 2020.
  • Current nation-wide Defence support includes:

    • Reconnaissance and planning support teams to all state and territory governments to assist with emergency response planning.

    • Contact tracing teams to work with authorities.

    • Supporting law enforcement agencies with mandatory quarantine arrangements for air arrivals into Australia.

  • The ADF will not be authorised as law enforcement officers as this remains the responsibility of the states and territories.

  • Additionally, the ADF:

    • Has established the three-star-led COVID-19 task force to coordinate Defence’s internal response to COVID-19 and support the whole-of-government effort.

    • Is supporting Emergency Management Australia-led (EMA) planning for the National Communicable Disease Incidence of National Significance Plan in response to COVID-19.

    • Is supporting the Department of Health with logistics and specialist staff. 

    • Has provided health, logistics and movements support to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Australian Border Force repatriation and care of Australian Nationals on Christmas Island and Howard Springs via RAAF bases Learmonth and Darwin.

    • Has been supplying clinical and epidemiological support to the Department of Health National Incident Room since early February 2020.

State-by-state breakdown

*Note: Personnel in Joint Task Group headquarters, supporting roles, and those preparing for tasks are included in overall state-based figures but are not captured in the list of tasks.

New South Wales - 454 personnel

  • 364 ADF personnel are supporting state police quarantine and self-isolation directions at Sydney Airport, local hotels and residences. 

  • Since March 26, 15 soldiers from the Army have been assisting the Foodbank charity, based in Bankstown, Sydney. The soldiers are helping to pack food parcels for people who have been required to self-isolate and have no means to secure their own food supply.

  • 54 personnel are involved in planning support and contact tracing teams.

Queensland - 216 personnel

  • 52 ADF personnel are supporting state police with the reception of international arrivals at Cairns and Brisbane airports.

  • 35 personnel are supporting state police quarantine and self-isolation compliance checks..

  • 16 personnel are involved in planning support and contact tracing teams.

  • 30 personnel are providing support to Queensland Police in protect indigenous communities

Victoria - 57 personnel

  • 13 personnel are involved in planning support and contact tracing teams.

  • 12 personnel are assisting with surgical mask production

  • personnel are preparing to support state police with their quarantine compliance management efforts.

Western Australia - 163 personnel

  • 104 personnel supported state police conduct vehicle checkpoints in Perth to manage road closures.

  • 10 personnel are providing planning support to the State Health Incident Coordination Centre

  • 2 personnel are supporting contact tracing.

South Australia - 29 personnel

  • 10 personnel are involved in planning support.

Tasmania - 66 personnel

  • 30 personnel are supporting state police quarantine compliance checks in Hobart, Launceston and Burnie.

  • 26 personnel are involved planning support and contact tracing teams.

Northern Territory - 104 personnel

  • 35 personnel are providing logistics, communications and medic support to the NT Police at three Northern Territory border control locations on the Stuart, the Barkly and the Victoria Highways.

    • The logistics are focused on catering and other sustainment operations for the NT Police in the remote locations.

    • The communications support will assist police data and voice transmission in the remote locations with limited reception.

    • The medic support will assist police in the health screening of civilians who are trafficking through the areas.

    • ADF personnel are not involved in the enforcement of border controls.

  • 7 personnel are involved planning support and contact tracing teams, and liaison roles.

  • 7 personnel have deployed to perform quarantine compliance checks.

  • 2 personnel are liaising with authorities in Alice Springs.

Australian Capital Territory – 25 personnel

  • 12 personnel are supporting contact tracing. 
  • 4 personnel are providing planning and liaison support to local authorities.