The ADF's contribution to the flood response has been applauded in the report.
The ADF's contribution to the flood response has been applauded in the report.

Australian Defence Force hailed for response efforts

THE Australian Defence Force has been given a glowing endorsement for their hand in the success of North Queensland's response to the catastrophic February flood.

The monsoonal trough review, released yesterday, found the "engagement, effort and professionalism" of defence force personnel played a significant role in the flood response and relief.

Defence liaison officers were embedded in Townsville's Local Disaster Co-ordination Centre to support the flood response and provide assistance with intelligence.

While the ADF were not involved with the Local Disaster Management Group's evacuation sub-plan, they assisted police in doorknocking at-risk properties to recommend evacuation.

Then on February 7, a request was made for assistance and the ADF stepped in to assist with welfare checks of flooded properties.

Troops from the Australian Defence Force helping clean up Townsville suburbs affected by the Townsville floods.
Troops from the Australian Defence Force helping clean up Townsville suburbs affected by the Townsville floods.

The report also found the Defence commander was afforded "freedom of action" that allowed for flexibility in the army's response, how they provided support and the use of expertise as, when and how required.

"Rather than work only to a strictly prescribed set of tasks and activities, the ADF was provided a degree of flexibility to undertake priority and time-critical operations, by an appropriate person," the report stated. "The freedom of action approach for ADF support should be encouraged for future events."

However, the report found there was a risk of "over reliance on or expectations of" how much capability or capacity the ADF has when responding to emergency situations.

It recommended greater emphasis be placed on pre-planned and predetermined arrangements between the ADF and state and local agencies to bolster the strength of the response even further.



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