More than 1400 Australian Defence Force personnel are set to join efforts to slow the spread of coronavirus in Victoria.
More than 1400 Australian Defence Force personnel are set to join efforts to slow the spread of coronavirus in Victoria.

Military set to roll in to support Victoria in crisis

More than 1400 Australian Defence Force personnel will be deployed across the state in coming days as part of efforts to slow the spread of the virus.

At least 400 personnel are already stationed around Victoria and a further 1000 will join in coming days after ­Daniel Andrews accepted an offer from Scott Morrison on Sunday.

The extra help was expected to remain in place until at least August 19, when stage three restrictions were scheduled to be lifted.

Personnel will assist with planning, logistics and intelligence reporting, contract tracing, testing and community outreach.

Support will also be provided to Victoria Police in enforcing stay at home orders, and Ambulance Victoria in an arrangement that will see ADF personnel teamed with paramedics.

Some will also help at vehicle checkpoints across the lockdown area.

 

Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Shane Patton. Picture: Andrew Henshaw
Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Shane Patton. Picture: Andrew Henshaw

 

"As the task grows, the team needs to grow as well," Mr Andrews said. "And pre-emptively, I think where we'll get to is to train up a whole range of staff from our banks, not to use right now, but in the event for either fatigue management or if the task continues to grow, for them to be potentially deployed in some weeks' time."

He said the extra support would mean Victoria Police members could be redeployed to focus on defending the hard border between metropolitan Melbourne, Mitchell shire and regional Victoria.

Staff from Medibank, Telstra, the banks, Qantas and Jetstar would also be recruited to help efforts, he said.

Emergency Management Commissioner Andrew Crisp and Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Shane Patton have been working with the state government to work out how to best use the extra help.

 

Andrew Crisp said the extra support would mean Victoria Police members could be redeployed to focus on defending the hard border between metropolitan Melbourne, Mitchell shire and regional Victoria. Picture: Simon Dallinger
Andrew Crisp said the extra support would mean Victoria Police members could be redeployed to focus on defending the hard border between metropolitan Melbourne, Mitchell shire and regional Victoria. Picture: Simon Dallinger

The Prime Minister said the federal government would do everything it could to prevent further deaths across Victoria.

"We will help Victoria with whatever it takes to save lives and to save livelihoods," Mr Morrison said.

"This is a serious situation facing not just Victoria, but the whole country."

Mr Andrews said he appreciated the assistance.

"This is a public health bushfire - just as we help out other states in summer, help is coming from across the nation now … and we are grateful for that," Mr Andrews said.

tamsin.rose@news.com.au

Originally published as Military set to roll in to support Victoria in crisis


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