Interview with the Today Show

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Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC

Minister for Defence

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Nicky Hamer (Minister Reynolds’ Office): +61 437 989 927

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25 June 2020

Interview with the Today Show, Karl Stefanovic

Topics: ADF assistance to Victoria, COVID-19

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KARL STEFANOVIC: The Army is being deployed on the streets of Melbourne to reinforce Victoria’s battle lines and tackle the worrying surge in cases. Minister Linda Reynolds joins us now from Perth. Minister, thank you for your time this morning, really appreciate it. How many troops will be deployed and what areas will they be focusing on?

MINISTER REYNOLDS: Good Morning, Karl. We received a request last night from the Victorian Government for additional ADF assistance. We have a planning team already in place in Victoria, and we are looking to deploy over 1,000 ADF personnel on the job from tomorrow. We will have approximately 850 providing logistical support, and also providing quarantine support at hotels. There will be another around 200 logistics and medical personnel to assist with the testing regime across Victoria.

KARL STEFANOVIC: How have these transmissions happened inside those quarantine areas?

MINISTER REYNOLDS: Karl, that's really an issue for the Victorian health authorities. My focus is making sure that today, and into the weekend, that the ADF deploy all required personnel to support the Victorian Government in their health measures.

KARL STEFANOVIC: The reason why I ask is because if you are sending in your own personnel, you want to make sure that transmission can't happen.

MINISTER REYNOLDS: Karl, that's a good point, but remember that the ADF have been assisting since February this year with our Whole-of-Government COVID-19 response, and we have had at any one time up to 2,000 personnel right across the nation. They are well trained and they are well prepared to deal with all of the required health measures.

KARL STEFANOVIC: Minister, have you asked the Victorian Government for a please explain on how those transmissions happened inside the quarantine facilities, if your own people are going in?

MINISTER REYNOLDS: Karl, as I said, our people are well prepared and they are well trained to deal with the situation. We have had thousands on the ground over the last few months, and our people are well trained and they are well practised at dealing with all required health precautions.

KARL STEFANOVIC: If the number of positive cases continues to spike, do you think there will be additional support brought in, and has there been any discussion about the possibility of borders closing?

MINISTER REYNOLDS: Karl, that's not really an issue for me as Defence Minister, but what I can confirm is we did receive a request from the Victorian Government last night, and today we are mobilising over 1,000 defence personnel to assist with tasks ranging from logistics, to planning and medical support with testing regimes. That agreement is through until the end of July. Of course, we will keep working closely with the Victorian Government to see what more might be required.

KARL STEFANOVIC: I think military presence on the streets is, from my mind, always peace of mind. Thank you for your time today. Best of luck to all of your personnel, Minister.

MINISTER REYNOLDS: And they are doing a wonderful job.


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