North Queensland Flood Assist 2018 - 2019

The view of the floodwaters devastating the landscape, from the observer window of a Royal Australian Air Force  C-27J Spartan aircraft during a mission to deliver fuel stocks to Richmond and Julia Creek in Regional North Queensland.
Queensland floodwaters
The view of the floodwaters devastating the landscape during a mission to deliver fuel stocks to Richmond and Julia Creek in Regional North Queensland.

During December 2018, a monsoonal trough began soaking northern Queensland, but by January 31 2019, the situation in Townsville and the broader region became dire.

The deluge was predicted to continue at record levels and the Ross River Dam was already full.

That’s when Army’s 3rd Brigade clicked into high gear to help support its local community.

Led by the Townsville Local Disaster Management Group (LDMG), Townsville’s emergency services, and the Army, planning took place for what was about to happen.

The men and women of 3rd Brigade started filling sandbags in earnest, loading them onto trucks ready to take them where they were directed.

On February 3 an official request for significant support was received by the government and a Joint Taskforce (JTF) was formed. 

With its unique capabilities right on the doorstep, Townsville City Council and the emergency services called on the JTF to assist with evacuations of those caught by the rapidly-rising floodwaters. 

Utilising a range of vehicles, such as the long-tested Bushmaster PMV and ASLAV and new-to-service Land 121 vehicles, the JTF assisted civil authorities by ensuring the safety of the Townsville community. 

The speed at which the task force was able to react shows the readiness at which all its elements are able to maintain. 

The courage of the members and their initiative to act was clear at every turn. 

Most of all, the teamwork displayed among the JTF and importantly with our emergency services colleagues was exceptional. 

During the final phase of the recovery effort the JTF assisted the council with kerb-side rubbish removal. 

With two out of three homes in Townsville affected, this task was bigger than one could imagine. 

Further, an internal taskforce to support Defence personnel and their families affected by the floods, led by Air Commodore Sue McGready, was immediately stood up.

This taskforce coordinated the flood relief for ADF and APS members, including establishing community hubs to provide essential enabling services and support for housing, temporary accommodation, travel and childcare.