Disaster Relief Australia appoints new Chief Executive Officer

Disaster Relief Australia | May 2024

David Smith

David Smith AM, CSC, DSM

Disaster Relief Australia (DRA) has appointed David Smith AM, CSC, DSM, as its new Chief Executive Officer effective 1 July 2024.

A respected military veteran, David will replace founding Chief Executive Officer, Geoff Evans, who steps down on 30 June after eight years at the helm.

David served on DRA’s Board of Directors for more than three years and brings a wealth of leadership experience with senior roles in Defence, private enterprise and the training and education sector. He has also worked extensively with numerous community groups and nonprofit organisations across regional Australia.

David’s appointment comes at a time of significant organisational growth for DRA. With more than $38 million in funding secured from the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), DRA continues to evolve and build its capability to better assist disaster-affected communities.

David joins as CEO of an organisation well-positioned to become the nation’s agency of choice in disaster recovery.

Under Geoff’s leadership DRA has become a national institution. He realised a vision to support communities in times of need and laid solid foundations upon which to build. We thank Geoff for his significant and enduring service. He leaves DRA in good hands.

David shares this vision and DRA’s mission and is more than equipped to take the organisation through its next phase of growth.

Disaster Relief Australia was named 2023 Australian Charity of the Year following three years of recognition for outstanding achievement.

Disaster Relief Australia – Board of Directors

About Disaster Relief Australia (DRA)

Disaster Relief Australia is a veteran-led volunteer organisation that unites the skills and experience of military veterans, emergency services specialists and motivated Australians to deploy volunteer disaster relief teams nationally and around the world. DRA is an independent non-profit organisation that helps impacted communities recover from disaster.

Established in 2016, Disaster Relief Australia has deployed on more than 60 disaster recovery operations and assisted more than 250 communities. DRA currently maintains a growing roster of more than 3,800 active volunteers nationally.

DRA is a national institution and leader in the field of disaster resilience and recovery. Accordingly, the Australian Government has committed $38.3 million to Disaster Relief Australia over four years to ensure additional support for states and territories when disasters occur. The funding provided through the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) will see Disaster Relief Australia add more than 5,000 new volunteers to its existing base and build its infrastructure and capacity to respond to more requests.

Between and during disaster recovery operations, Disaster Relief Australia engages its volunteers by providing continued professional development, training, employment opportunities and participation in local community service projects. Disaster Relief Australia has ten Disaster Relief Teams located in every state and territory with the capacity to assist Australian communities when and where they need us.

Our disaster recovery capabilities include:
• Incident management
• Spontaneous volunteer management
• Work order management
• Damage and impact assessment
• Debris management and restoring access
• Home repairs
• Route clearance and property assessment
• Aerial damage assessment and mapping
• Community resilience building
• Logistics management and humanitarian aid delivery