ADF personnel have had a warm welcome from members of the public as they support the NSW Government’s efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19.
CAPTION: NSW Police and Private Jordan Sayers work together to patrol the Bankstown sports centre in support of the NSW Operation Covid-19 Assist. Story by Lieutenant Commander John Thompson. Photo by Corporal Dustin Anderson.
The State Government requested the support of an extra 300 personnel on top of the 250 who are assisting at the airport and on hotel quarantine programs.
Private Jordan Sayers, who is about to join the 5th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, was one of the first to join the effort.
He said it was great to be able to help the community during Operation COVID-19 Assist.
“Everyone has been very friendly. We’ve had a few people come up and thank us for being here,” Private Sayers said.
Leading Seaman Sam Baker who is also deployed said one of the reasons he joined the ADF was to assist with humanitarian work.
“I live in one of the eight local government areas of concern. I am so happy that we are able to do something to help the community during this challenging time,” Leading Seaman Baker said.
The additional soldiers, sailors, and aviators on Operation COVID-19 Assist in NSW are carrying out a range of tasks, including delivering food parcels, assisting police with welfare and compliance checks, helping set up vaccination stations and providing contact tracing support.
Commander of the operation, Colonel Warwick Young, said members appreciated the welcome shown by the community.
“This is a critical time in the fight against the coronavirus and we are pleased that we can play a role in helping stop the spread and getting our community back on its feet,” Colonel Young said.
“We have no enforcement powers, but we will be here to support police and other state authorities do their jobs for as long as they need us, like we have done during the bushfires, the floods and through the pandemic.”
Local Police Multicultural Officer in Campbelltown Taane Tu said he was grateful for the help from Defence and Police.
“We rely on volunteers to prepare our care packages, but many have not yet been vaccinated, so I asked if the ADF and NSW Police could help,” Taane Tu said.
“They arrived all energised and smashed through the job in just over an hour.”