APS reserve staff called to help process flood support, national disaster to be declared

By Jackson Graham

March 9, 2022

Services Australia has requested 500 staff from the APS Surge Reserve. (Image: Adobe/mbruxelle)

Hundreds of the Australian Public Service’s ‘reserve staff’ will help process flood support claims while the federal government prepares to declare flood-affected areas a national disaster. 

Services Australia has requested 500 staff from the APS Surge Reserve to assist with processing the Disaster Recovery Allowance and the Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment. 

“Our APS Surge Reservists are working in lockstep with agency staff,” a government spokesperson told The Mandarin. 

“We’re grateful to these staff for their tremendous contribution to help those affected by the floods.” 

Some of the surge workforce had already been seconded to Services Australia to assist with Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment claims this year and will continue in the temporary role to process the new flood payments. 

The agency has so far paid out more than $282 million to people in NSW and Queensland impacted by the floods. 

Prime minister Scott Morrison is expected to declare a national emergency for flood-affected areas on Wednesday – triggering greater legislative power to deploy resources – during a visit to Lismore. The exact scope of the declaration is not yet known. 

The national emergency legislation has not been used before and emerged as part of the royal commission into the Black Summer bushfires of 2019-20. 

Twenty-one people have lost their lives in the floods across both affected states, while NSW had 64 evacuation orders in place on Tuesday night. 

Queensland has announced the Australian Defence Force’s major general Jake Ellwood will oversee the state’s flood recovery. 

Ellwood has served in Townsville, Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan and two tours in East Timor. 

“When bad things happen, Australians come together,” he said.

“My job is to coordinate everyone’s efforts to ensure the job is done efficiently and people are back on their feet as fast as possible.”

Major-general David Thomae is leading a national joint taskforce responding to the floods. 

A spokesperson for the Australian Public Service Commission encouraged all public servants to speak to their supervisors and agency’s HR about nominating for the APS Surge Reserve. 

The APS Surge Reserve demonstrates the flexibility and dedication of the APS and we are grateful to all the staff who have already contributed to help the Australian community at this time,” they said.


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