While the floodwaters may have receded, the clean-up for those affected by last month’s once-in-a-generation weather event will continue for the foreseeable future.

Defence staff are helping rebuild affected communities across NSW by assisting Services Australia with the processing of Australian Government Disaster Relief Payment claims.

Just as they pitched in to assist with the whole-of-government COVID-19 response last year, employees from Defence are working in collaboration with their APS counterparts.

Lending a helping hand in the process is Ben Larsen, a Defence graduate based in Canberra who said the experience was “incredibly rewarding.”

“Every day we receive an endless stream of calls from members of the public who have faced significant damage to their homes and destruction of important contents,” Mr Larsen said. 

“Our work involves listening to these people and submitting their claims for financial relief to help them get their lives back on track. Being able to play a part in helping people is incredibly rewarding. 

“Some of the joy I hear when telling somebody they are eligible for assistance is immeasurable and highlights the importance of what I am doing from my desk.”

The ongoing coordination of this secondment has been enabled by the agile and dedicated teams in Defence People Group and the Chief Information Officer Group.

Amanda Legge, a Canberra-based APS recruitment officer, said since the pandemic started, Defence had provided 298 employees to provide assistance to help communities across Australia experiencing adversity.

“It feels really good to know that the assistance we are providing is directly helping Australians affected by the devastating floods,” Ms Legge said.

On-the-ground assistance has also been provided by the Australian Defence Force through the work of Operation NSW Flood Assist.