Royal Australian Navy personnel have been working alongside their Australian Army colleagues contributing to the whole-of-government response to the COVID-19 pandemic across country Queensland - in some cases hundreds of kilometres from the ocean.
While the majority of Navy personnel have been providing quarantine assistance to State authorities at the Brisbane and Cairns airports, and hotels in Cairns, the Gold Coast, and Brisbane; a number of sailors have been supporting the Queensland Police Service (QPS) at control points for border control operations around the State.
Reservist, Able Seaman Kirsty Waters, celebrated a milestone during her time supporting the QPS border control operations at Killarney on the Queensland and New South Wales border.
“This deployment will be one to remember as I turned 30 out here and the Army boys bought me cupcakes, while my partner organised some balloons to be sent down,” she said.
“Even the local café brought some morning tea and their puppy down to the checkpoint.”
Chief Petty Officer Steven McClintock is very thankful for the opportunity to work with Army in support of the QPS, stepping into a leadership role with the Warwick-based TE3, coordinating personnel and logistics for a number of Police Check Points.
“I’m really enjoying working with Army to ensure the smooth running of our Area of Operations - it is very cold at the Police Check Points, so it is important for morale to ensure we do what we can to keep the members well fed and warm,” Chief Petty Officer McClintock said.
Australian Defence Force personnel have been on the ground supporting the QPS since early April, and for the past few weeks Royal Australian Navy personnel have been working side by side with Army in various roles.
Petty Officer Combat Systems Supervisor Grant Ireland was deployed to the Goondiwindi Police Check Point and explained how different, yet interesting, this role has been from previous Navy tasks.
He said he plans to visit the region again when restrictions ease
“It has been a privilege to be a part of and witness how well Navy personnel are working with Army during this Operation,” he said.
“For me, it is so different to be working away from a ship at sea or port.
“I felt appreciated by the locals, QPS and Army, and believe what I have been doing really matters.
“I have great respect for country Queensland - I’ve even been talking to some of my mates about doing a two week road trip, visiting a bunch of outback Queensland town when things ease, maybe around a rugby league match.”