Throughout the pandemic the Australian Defence Force (ADF) has been postured to respond to requests for support from the states and territories at very short notice.
From 21 March 2020, ADF planning teams were established in every state and territory to rapidly facilitate any requests for support.
Following the Prime Minister’s offer on 27 March 2020 for ADF support to states and territories with the new mandatory 14-day quarantine period for international arrivals, the ADF discussed requirements with relevant state and territory authorities.
On 28 March 2020, Victorian authorities advised that Victoria was not seeking ADF assistance with mandatory quarantine arrangements. The ADF was consistently advised that its assistance was not required for any “public facing roles” in Victoria.
ADF officials asked whether Victorian authorities required assistance with its mandatory quarantine system on multiple occasions. No request for quarantine support was subsequently received from Victoria at that time.
On 12 April 2020, Victorian authorities reaffirmed to ADF officials that all quarantine compliance monitoring operations were within Victorian authorities’ capacity.
Defence agreed to requests for support to quarantine compliance from Queensland and NSW on 28 March.
In NSW, ADF personnel began supporting the reception of international arrivals at Sydney Airport and undertaking quarantine compliance monitoring at hotels the following day.
In Queensland, ADF personnel began supporting reception of international arrivals at Brisbane airport the following day, and supported quarantine compliance monitoring at hotels from 31 March.
On 14 April 2020, the ADF shared observations on best practice quarantine compliance monitoring operations with all state and territory police commissioners, including the success of interagency operations between the ADF and NSW Police.
On 24 June 2020, Defence agreed to a Victorian Government request for 850 ADF personnel to assist with hotel quarantine compliance. The request was withdrawn by the Victorian Government the following day. The decision to withdraw the request is a matter for the Victorian Government.
On 3 August 2020, the ADF agreed to provide up to 50 personnel to support Western Australian authorities with support to hotel quarantine.
Under Defence Assistance to the Civil Community (DACC) arrangements, Defence provides assistance to states and territories when requested through Emergency Management Australia. DACC arrangements are predicated on states and territories requesting Defence assistance.