With an unprecedented bushfire season followed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Australian Defence Force enacted the largest mobilisation for domestic disaster relief in the nation's history.

In a video message, Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds has thanked personnel for serving during Operations Bushfire Assist and COVID-19 Assist with confidence, composure and without complaint.

“You adapted quickly. You rose to the challenge and you changed the way you work to keep yourselves and Australians safe,” Senator Reynolds says. 

“You made sure you continued your operations, your training and your exercises safely to remain ready to defend Australia and its national interests.”

Among the assistance provided, personnel set up shelters, distributed fuel and animal fodder, assisted with COVID-19 testing, assisted with contact tracing and staffed hospitals. 

Senator Reynolds acknowledged the dedication of personnel working away from their loved ones at a time when the urge to be with family was overwhelming.

“You sacrificed that opportunity for the greater good,” she says. 

“As the Minister for Defence and on behalf of all Australians, I say – simply and sincerely – thank you.”

The video message can be seen at: https://youtu.be/3TG7s_TVPYI