The ADF has increased its support to NSW Government efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Last Thursday, the State Government requested an extra 300 personnel to help on a range of tasks focused on community welfare and ensuring stay-at-home orders issued by NSW Health were observed.

NSW Commander of Operation COVID-19 Assist Colonel Warwick Young said the ADF was ready, willing and able.

“We are privileged to be able to do our part to stop the spread of the coronavirus,” Colonel Young said.

“We have been assisting authorities in a range of areas since March last year and have developed a close working relationship with the NSW Police, NSW Health and other NSW Government agencies, so we are well poised to provide assistance.”

ADF personnel will be delivering food parcels, assisting police with welfare and compliance checks, providing support at COVID testing clinics and helping set up vaccination stations.

Defence also will assist with contact tracing, as it did in the early phases of the pandemic last year.

Corporal Andrew Stenning has been taking part in food deliveries with NSW Police officers.

“It is great to be able to help those people in need – who have been impacted by the COVID crisis – and provide them with these care packages of food and meals,” Corporal Stenning said. 

The community response has been positive.

Fairfield council’s group manager David Niven said the work the ADF and NSW Police were doing was important.

“We have people who have lost incomes and savings as a result of the COVID-19 lockdown, and really need this type of support,” Mr Niven said.

ADF members supporting the effort are fully vaccinated and will be working under the direction of NSW authorities.

“Our personnel are not authorised as law enforcement officers nor are they able to enforce health orders, but they will play an important support role to enable police and other state authorities to get on with the jobs they do best,” Colonel Young said.

Since Operation COVID-19 Assist began, more than 5000 personnel have supported the whole-of-government response in NSW.

NSW Police and ADF members load care packages into a vehicle ready to be delivered to homes in the Fairfield community. Photo: Corporal Dustin Anderson