After more than two years on the front line of Australia’s response to the global pandemic, the Defence COVID-19 Task Force was disestablished on April 29.
FILE PHOTO: Army Privates Kate Larby and Maddison Lillie, and Victorian Department of Health Authorised Officer Daniel Green on patrol as part of a COVID-19 Household Engagement Program to support the Victorian State government’s response to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Photo by Private Michael Currie.
The task force was set up in March 2020, a time of great uncertainty for all Australians, to ensure essential national security activities continued.
The task force provided a single point from which Defence could rally and support the national pandemic response.
It tackled many issues, all of them new, and even those that appeared simple were complex.
Managing lockdowns and lockouts, remote working, restrictions on travel, state and territory-initiated restrictions, vaccination requirements, industry support, and personal health protection measures; not only a new vocabulary but also a new way of doing business.
The task force played the coordinating role with the groups and services to closely control activities and reshape business practices so commanders and managers could lead their people.
As was the case around Australia, there was not one Defence workplace that was not affected by the pandemic.
COVID-19 Task Force Commander RAdm Robert Plath (pictured above) said more than 250 personnel had served within the task force, but they could not have achieved what they did without the support of thousands of people across Defence.
The efforts of the Defence COVID19 Task Force, coupled with the significant community response to the whole-of-government COVID-19 strategies, enabled Defence to reach a point of maturity in effectively managing and incorporating COVID-19 prevention measures into normal business strategies for our own workforce and capability management.
“We are now ostensibly operating in a ‘living with COVID-19’ setting,” RAdm Plath said.
“This is consistent with the settings outlined in the national plan to transition Australia’s national COVID-19 response.
“The legacy of the combined contributions made by the Defence COVID19 Task Force will continue to serve to protect our Defence workforce and families.”