Our lives are continuing to change, sometimes quickly. This pandemic is forcing us to adapt, to do things differently and then to change again.
One constant has been the professionalism and good work of all Defence personnel.
The unveiling of a three-step roadmap to become a COVIDSafe nation by the Australian Government gives us all some welcome clarity and certainty moving forward.
I reiterate that we can’t be complacent about our individual responses to COVID-19 and stopping the spread of the pandemic. I expect you all to be exemplars when it comes to following the health advice to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
As the states and territories begin to lift their restrictions, Defence will align with them as quickly as we can. We will have further advice on this in coming days.
On another note, I visited some of the more than 200 Defence civilians redeployed to Services Australia in Canberra. I’d like to briefly say how impressed I was during my visits to the Defence teams who are contributing to the whole-of-government COVID-19 response.
From the full range of areas and occupations across Defence, they were all determined and professional in their approach to their new environments. They are making important contributions on what is one of the frontlines of COVID-19: assisting Australians whose employment has been affected by the virus.
We can’t be complacent about our individual responses to COVID-19 and stopping the spread of the pandemic.
For our Defence APS personnel, especially those newer to the APS, this has been a deeply rewarding experience. They are very aware they are helping their fellow Australians and are getting a sense of personal satisfaction, as well as learning new skills.
Can I also extend my appreciation to those in Joint Health Command. It’s been a particularly demanding period and I was delighted to be able to express my thanks during a visit to JHC last week.
Their work has been outstanding, not only as part of our COVID-19 response, but in maintaining garrison health services.
Their determined efforts have preserved the Australian Defence Force, delivered high-quality healthcare (while minimising the burden on the public health system) and ensured Defence is following the correct health advice.
As we move forward, there is promising progress in Australia. But I don’t want you to envision a return to business as usual.
Although we didn’t choose a pandemic to do it, COVID-19 has changed how we work as an organisation, whether it’s with each other, from home or with other agencies.
We’ve learned valuable lessons about ourselves and Defence – lessons I don’t want us to discard as the world keeps changing. We’ve already established a Lessons Learned repository which will ensure we respond with better processes and practices as we make our way into the ‘new normal’. As we support and work with the Australian community, the ADF will continue to adapt to ensure we continue to deliver our mission.