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 AEST 21 April 2020

National - Approximately 2000 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:

    • Contact tracing and planning support teams to all state and territory governments.

    • Supporting law enforcement agencies with mandatory quarantine arrangements.

    • 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.

  • More than 100 ADF and Defence APS personnel are embedded in various Australian Government agencies, including the Department of Home Affairs and Services Australia.

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 - 494 personnel

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

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

Queensland - 438 personnel

  • 104 ADF personnel are supporting state police with Queensland border controls.

  • 82 personnel are supporting state police self-isolation compliance checks

  • 78 personnel are providing support to Queensland Police to protect Indigenous communities.

  • 21 personnel are supporting state police with the reception of international arrivals at airports.

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

Victoria - 57 personnel

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

  • 6 personnel are supporting self-isolation compliance checks.

Western Australia - 253 personnel

  • 153 ADF personnel are supporting Western Australia Police Force border controls.

  • 19 personnel are supporting contact tracing, health support and planning efforts.

South Australia - 36 personnel

  • 12 ADF personnel are involved in planning support.

Tasmania - 131 personnel

  • Following a request for assistance from the Tasmanian Government, the ADF will deploy personnel to Tasmania as part of an Australian Medical Assistance Team-led Commonwealth response. 52 ADF personnel are supporting clinical hospital duties in the state's north west. More information can be found here.

  • 35 personnel are involved in contact tracing teams.

  • 28 personnel are supporting state police quarantine compliance checks.

Northern Territory - 162 personnel

  • 63 ADF personnel are providing support to Northern Territory Police to protect Indigenous communities

  • 16 personnel are supporting territory police self-isolation compliance checks

  • 6 personnel are involved in liaison and contact tracing teams.

Australian Capital Territory – 59 personnel

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