12 March 2022
DAVID THOMAE: Good afternoon. Thank you for attending this operational update for Operation Flood Assist. I am General David Thomae. I am the commander of Joint Task Force 629, the headquarters responsible for coordinating ADF support to Operation Flood Assist. The ADF continues to support emergency services and New South Wales Police, to assist those affected by this significant flooding event. ADF personnel have been proudly assisting flood affected communities in Southeast Queensland and New South Wales since 25th of February and when EMA activated the Commonwealth Disaster Management Plan.
The ADF has over 6000 people available for tasking across New South Wales and Queensland as part of Operation Flood Assist. Today in Queensland, operations continue across Gympie, Goodna, Gatton, Saint Lucia, Rocklea, Grantham, Bundamba and Goodna. The hydrographic survey ships and clearance divers continue to survey and clear underwater obstacles in the Brisbane River, including the ferry terminals along the river. In Northern New South Wales, the ADF has approximately 3000 troops operating with heavy plant operations in Lismore. Aviation tasks with New South Wales Police to assist in missing person searches around Coraki.
We continue to conduct food loading, distribution, aerial reconnaissance and welfare checks across many townships, and we have 450 troops moving from three Brigade in Townsville South and they will locate themselves at a Bayliner in the next 24 hours. In Sydney, the ADF task group has supported the State Emergency Service and community groups with boat support in the vicinity of Wiseman's Ferry. Air reconnaissance of the Hawkesbury River has been undertaken as well. Royal Australian Air Force PA has conducted aerial mapping of the flood affected zones, and provided that imagery to the State Operation Centre. We remain poised to support the affected communities in Sydney, as the waters recede and we will do the same type of work as we've done in Queensland and Northern New South Wales. The sailors, soldiers and aviators of the Australian Defence Force are enthusiastically engaging in the tasks that they are undertaking in support of the Australian community. They're displaying compassion, humility and dedication in their duties. Thank you.