Newsletter June 2021

Disaster Relief Australia | June 2021

It often feels like we are moving slowly in DRA because it is in our nature to focus on trees and not the forest. In October this year we will be five. 4.5 years ago we mobilised 43 people to Proserpine for our first operation. In the six months of 2021 we have so far deployed over 500 volunteers on operations, that does not include service projects, training etc.

Anyone that has deployed will understand the impact we have had in the communities we serve and on each other. When I look back, I realise we have been sprinting the whole time. We are not a perfect organisation, but we will always strive to be. We most definitely have much to be proud of.
– Geoff Evans, Chief Executive Officer


Welcoming Fundraising Manager Rebecca Miller

DRA welcomed Rebecca Miller into the role of National Fundraising Manager in April. Bec has worked in the fundraising sector for over 21 years in both state and national roles, managing extensive fundraising programs.

Bec has been a board member of the Zahra Foundation Australia since 2018 and held positions on the South Australia/Northern Territory state committee of FIA for over 15 years, including serving as the state chair for three. She has also served as a committee member for South Australia’s FIA Showcase and the Northern Territory NFP Forum.

Bec has already deployed once to Operation Corkhill and was instrumental in coordinating the Sunrise Crosses from Bega Valley Shire earlier this month. In her spare time, Bec and her husband are into classic and vintage scooters. When possible they travel Australia and the world with their scooter mates to various rallies.

Standing up the Perth DRT with Operation Woods

In response to the Perth Wooroloo/Gidgegannup bushfires of February, our 7th DRT is now officially stood up. Wayne O’Brien, Perth’s newly minted DRT Manager talks us through their first few months.

Operation Woods

Op Woods was DRA’s first operation in Western Australia and is the largest to date. Volunteers deployed from every state and territory across Australia. In partnership with Minderoo Foundation’s Fire and Flood Resilience initiative, over 200 volunteers were deployed over 8 weeks. Thank you to all our partners who supported us during this operation, to our members, Minderoo staff and other corporate partners who volunteered their time and most importantly to the Perth Hills community for welcoming us into their lives during such a difficult time.

The Perth DRT may be the new kid on the block, but we are now the 4th largest DRT with membership more than doubling since the beginning of Op Woods, with 160 active members in the team.

Building the Perth DRT

We are slowly building the supporting organisation with coordinator positions filled and the recruitment of Associate positions underway. We are looking forward to getting to know our members better through several special projects planned in the couple months, which will also help shape the final positions in the DRT org. structure.

There has been a lot of work continued off the back of Op Woods and we are fortunate to have such a large group of talented and motivated members to continue the DRA story here in WA.

Perth membership and partners

The stellar work delivered by DRA on Op Woods has not only grown membership, but also built brand recognition and opened a lot of doors. The Perth DRT is now a member of the State Recovery Coordination Group Partnership Forum (SRCGPF) for the Perth Hills Bushfires, providing input and engagement with key stakeholders across government and not for profit organisations supporting the recovery efforts.

The DRT has also signed an agreement with Legacy WA as a preferred partner with mutual access and support to our respective clients. This is an exciting relationship that will see us supporting a VSO with shared values and provide training and DRA member benefits through access to Legacy Busselton Camp.

We have also been busy establishing relationships with RSLWA, Army Personnel Transition Unit, ADF Chaplains, WA SES, Working Spirit, Veteran Central, CWA and Men’s Sheds to support membership and engagement strategies. We have met with folks from these organisations at sundowners, working breakfasts, online community hall meetings, networking events, any way we can to get the word out there about our new DRT.

Operations and logistics

The Perth DRT is currently operating from National Storage facilities in Guildford. This was established by Jodie Turpin and Op Woods Wave 8 personnel and local members during a COVID-19 lockdown and the demobilisation of Op Woods – a stellar effort of all involved. Nic Goss then came into town to support the input of all assets into Hardcat, so we are looking pretty tight operationally.

A local initiative to develop the Coates Hire relationship with the fitout and storage of strike team containers, with access to Coates Hire maintenance and training facilities was recognised as a key initiative that is now being reviewed at a national level, which is exciting stuff for all DRT’s.
– Wayne O’Brien, Disaster Relief Team Manager – Perth

National Emergency Medal (NEM) update

It has been noted that there are a number of DRA Members who are champing at the bit to wear the National Emergency Medal (NEM), for sustained service during the Eastern Australian Bushfire Catastrophe of late 2019 to early 2020.

Be assured that the process is at hand, with a few hiccups along the way. There are over 200,000 Nominations/Applications for the NEM Clasp ‘BUSHFIRES 2019-20’ to be processed, including the 70,000 from RFS NSW and CFA VIC. So, this will take longer than anticipated and I ask all of you to have patience whilst this massive undertaking is being tackled by the NEM Medal Team.

We are but one of many organisations that participated in this event. Each name is checked for verification. Not all DRA Members will be recognised, only those who deployed to the AO for a period of at least 5 days during the eligible period will be recognised (Sustained Service).

NEM Information and Declaration

We have also ensured that we have included our brothers and sisters from Norway (The Vikings); TRUK; and TRUSA; within the nomination schedule, which must undergo a formal approach to each government by diplomatic means. I have confirmed with the NEM secretariat that they have received our nominations, along with our international friends. If there are any further questions, please do not hesitate in contacting me.
– Paul “Copey” Copeland, National Manager Honours & Awards


During the first six months of 2021, Australian communities have endured unprecedented fires and floods. We have in response deployed multiple operations to aid communities sometimes dramatically hit with multiple 1 in 100 year weather events.

Despite the many challenges of operating in a fluctuating COVID-19 environment DRA has deployed three major operations in six months, bringing vital fire and flood recovery to communities in NSW and WA.

During the first half of 2021, Disaster Relief Australia has deployed 648 volunteers, completed 250 work orders and returned over 1.3 million dollars in community costs saved. What an incredible effort!

As we enter the second half of 2021 and hopefully enjoy a reprieve from the intensity of the disaster season, we can take a moment to look back at our success.

Op Woods

After eight weeks of recovery operations in the City of Swan and Shire of Mundaring regions, Operations Woods came to a close on the 24th April 2021.  This was a very exciting operation for DRA being the first operation to be launched in WA. Not only has Operation Woods been the largest operation DRA has had to date, It also set the stage for a Perth DRT to be raised.

There were many challenges during this operation and time and time again our members rose to the challenge. Thanks to everyone’s hard work the final stats for this operation are as follows: 206 Personnel Deployed (203 DRA, 30 Minderoo and 16 CorpVols), 103 Jobs completed, 98 UAV flights completed and 126 Damage assessments completed.
-Wayne Goss, Perth DRT Manager

Op Corkhill Phase I & II

Op Corkhill brought back bushfire recovery operations to the Eurobodalla Shire located on the south coast of NSW. We were able to continue work in communities devastated by the 2019/2020 fire season.

OPERATION CORKHILL PHASE 2 has been underway in the Bega Valley Shire LGA since late May. Due to the recent COVID-19 complications in NSW, we are unfortunately required to put Operation Corkhill Phase 2 on hold until further notice.

This is the second pause we have been forced to endure in the region due to COVID-19. Our commitment to providing help and hope to Bega Valley Shire LGA residents has not wavered and we remain committed to returning as soon as possible to pick up where we left off.
– Mick Young, Theatre Commander, Op Corkhill

Op Elliot

Operation Elliot deployed 107 volunteers Over 5 waves to the NSW mid-north coast following the immense floods of March 2021. These floods were vastly different to what we had experienced before. The water came suddenly and receded rapidly. By the time the response forces had departed and DRA arrived, the community had already dug deep and shown enormous support for each other, especially in the urban areas. We started looking for those who still needed support.

We realised there was an unmet need amongst the more rural communities and moved our efforts from Camden Haven to the Wauchope area. The challenges these areas faced were compounded from the Black Summer fires. Soil degradation, soil loss, roads cut and farm bridges washed away! And always fences, more fences.

Floods are insidious. After a fire you know you have lost everything. After a flood, there is hope, because your house is still there, and your couch and your photos. But in truth just about everything is destroyed, and you have to evaluate each and every item with hope, only to realise the loss.

A challenge we face as DRA, is how to support people on these large blocks. Every DA becomes an understatement of what the identified work could be, especially when the stressed landowner is dealing with the trauma of catastrophe. During this operation, we discussed the need for DRA to frame our support to the land holder as being along the lines of “if we can, we might be able to put four people on the ground for about six hours”. That’s one strike team for a day, knowing anything extra we can provide should be seen as a bonus.

We learned an enormous amount from Operation Elliot. Thank you to everyone involved.
– Ben Patrick, Op Elliot Theatre Commander

Project Lowerson

Project Lowerson is a joint initiative between Disaster Relief Australia and Australian Capital Equity to fill the gaps in the ongoing recovery of communities impacted by the Black Summer bushfires.

The project provides funding for DRA to access support from Coates Hire and has been running for eight months, with a further three months planned. During that time, the project has provided support to bushfire recovery for residents in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, and Western Australia.

Examples of the work that has been undertaken include:

  • Providing excavators and other plant equipment to homeowners to dig dams and repair roads on their own properties
  • Combining Coates Hire plant equipment with professional operators, or funding professional contractors to undertake work that is outside of DRA’s capability
    Directly supporting DRA operations through vehicles, equipment, plant, containers and logistical support
  • Allowing DRA to increase it’s DRT bushfire recovery equipment stores through the purchase of equipment via Coates supply chains
  • Train DRA volunteers in the operation of excavator and bob-cat plant – an exciting opportunity that will see the funding turned into an enduring capability for DRA.

To date, almost $600,000 have been spent or committed into activities that will support recovery efforts. The breadth of activities that we have managed to use the funding for means that the positive impact will be felt for months and years to come.
– Luke Gordon, National Planning Manager

Service Projects

Cherry Gardens Service Project

This project resulted from the fires in Cherry Gardens, Bradbury, Dorset Value and Kangarilla, all of which occurred on 24 Jan 2021. The fires are believed to have been deliberately lit and spread through a National Park and affected many properties on its border. It was a very hot fire pushed by strong winds. Fortunately the CFS was able to get it under control before too many properties were affected. There were 2 homes and 17 sheds destroyed, and it burnt through 2,700 hectares of land.

Whilst the damage was far less extensive than the devastating Cudlee Creek fires of December 2019, the effect, cost and destruction to properties was just as bad to the local inhabitants. State and local government instrumentalities offered scant assistance to those affected by the fire and help was sought elsewhere. DRA was asked to assist, and we took up the challenge.

The Cherry Gardens Project was conducted during weekdays, with days chosen based on the volunteer support available. That support has been good, and we were able to provide teams on two days per week over the 5 weeks of the project. Nine properties requested our assistance.

The conduct of the project was different to our earlier Adelaide Hills project for several reasons:

  • The area of operations was 45 minutes from our normal FOB and storage unit
  • All the damaged properties were within a 5 km radius of each other
  • We had a new lockable enclosed DRA trailer to carry Strike Team equipment to the damaged properties
  • We were operating on a daily weekday basis rather than over a weekend

We were fortunate that one of the property owners, Graeme Jones, offered his shed to lock up our trailer securely each night. His shed became our “FOB” for the duration. This was a terrific way to go, saving much travel time each day and ensuring maximum time “on the job”. Teams were as strong as 11 and as small as four.

Volunteers travelled to Graeme’s property each day, were briefed, equipment loaded for the day’s work and mostly we were on the job before 0900. Tasks included burnt tree felling, cutting up felled trees, stacking, clearing paddocks, shed demolition and fence line clearing.

All teams worked extremely hard and we were able to achieve great results. To their credit several volunteers fronted up almost every day of the project. The project was very capably led by Deane Pye, who as Operations Officer worked tirelessly before, during and after every day of the project.

Our task would have been much harder without the assistance and guidance of Graeme. Whilst his property was affected by the fire he showed much service above self by ensuring all properties around him were looked after first. He was able to provide us a priority of work for those affected and assisted us physically where possible.
– David Roper, Disaster Relief Team Manager – Adelaide

Vic Assist Service Project

Following severe weather events across the state of Victoria on the 9th – 12th June 2021, a number of areas in both Regional and Metro Vic suffered extensive weather damage. Over the weekend of 18 – 21 June, we deployed 15 volunteers to two separate locations to assist communities and charity groups alike.
– Kyran Byrne, Disaster Relief Team Manager – Melbourne

Wooroloo Service Project

The Wooroloo / Gidgegannup Bushfire fire started in the Wooroloo area north east of Perth. It damaged approximately 320 properties and destroyed at least 86 dwellings, burning approximately 10500 ha of land with a fire perimeter of 136 km. In response, Operation Woods ran between February 27th to April 24th 2021. During this time 129 work orders were created and 103 closed.

On completion of Op Woods, remaining work orders were provided to the City of Swan and Shire of Mundaring Bushfire Recovery groups. This service project is kicking off 30th June and will run over a period of 8 weeks.
– Wayne O’Brien, Disaster Relief Team Manager – Perth


Since joining as the National Director of DRTs in February 2021, it has been a privilege to work with so many inspiring members and to provide support to DRT Managers around Australia. A key milestone has been the establishment of Perth DRT, with planning now commencing for raising a DRT in the Northern Territory for the second half of 2021. The DRT Membership and Training sections are also planning for future development, through clearly defining a range of member pathways that will orientate roles with the enhancement of operational capabilities and training.

We are looking forward to seeking feedback across DRA on this in the near future, before implementing from the second half of 2021. Otherwise as your DRT development team, we are focusing on consolidating the foundations of DRA, expanding our membership, planning toward the future, and ensuring that we continue growing from strong foundations. It is always exciting to see the good work going on out there by the DRTs and on operations. Thanks for all your work and good luck!
– Sam Reed, National Director – Disaster Relief Teams

Adelaide DRT members volunteering at Cherry Gardens, SA


Adelaide DRT is now officially 1 year old! Inspired by Op Hannaford but delayed by the first COVID-19 lockdown, Adelaide DRT launched in June 2020 and today has 132 active members.

Since that time it has run two major Service Projects – Adelaide Hills for 5 Waves and Cherry Gardens for 5 Waves – completing 32 work orders, logging 2,400 hours, and saving the community in the order of $140,000.

The DRT is continuing to offer a variety of training courses to its members, is planning to return to the Adelaide Hills to finish off that Service Project in late July, and is planning for another social event in August.
– David Roper, Disaster Relief Team Manager – Adelaide

Brisbane DRT members volunteering for 42 for 42


Brisbane DRT members have been helping out on an amazing project called 42 for 42. Founded by ex-Army veteran, the aim is to help vets and their families by building a memorial dedicated 41 who have fallen and the 42nd representing those lost to suicide. The Memorial Garden is located at Milton, near the Suncorp Stadium.
– Aaron O’Toole, Disaster Relief Team Manager – Brisbane

Brisbane Skid Steer course


Canberra DRT has been heavily involved with Operation Corkhill located first in Eurobodalla and more recently in the Bega Valley Shire. Beginning February and working with all the challenges of COVID-19, our members have been deploying on multiple waves over the past 6 months. A huge thank you to all.
– Michael Young, Disaster Relief Team Manager – Canberra

Melbourne DRT members working service project VIC Assist


Melbourne DRT has had a particularly tough few months, the seemingly non stop fluctuations between lockdowns continue and seeing the metro and regional exclusion rules enacted has added to not only people’s personal stress but to the operational capacity of the DRT.

However, tough times don’t last, tough people do and Melbourne DRT has remained steadfast and true to the cause. We have held three chainsaw courses which doubles as training activities for our experience sawyers. Over the weekend of 18 – 21 June we held SP VIC Assist where we deployed 15 Volunteers to two separate locations to assist communities and charity groups alike. We are developing new plans currently to return to Malacoota while ramping up all of our activities in the state of Victoria to broaden the experience of our members while getting the message that Melbourne DRT is back in the fight!
– Kyran Byrne, Disaster Relief Team Manager – Melbourne

North Queensland

Townsville DRT is now known as the North Queensland DRT. We’ve decided on this to demonstrate to the people of North Queensland that we are not only here for Townsville, but for NQ in its entirety.

We are planning a Barefoot bowls day in July/August. This will be a fun event for us all to get together and try to kickstart some social interaction again.

We are currently working on a Resilience Service Project, and are working on initial planning for this now. It will encompass the mapping of seasonal waterways to identify potential choke points as well as vegetation that has been lodged into those watercourses that could potentially cause damage downstream in the next wet weather event that occurs up here. Keep an eye out for the EOI’s coming your way soon.

We have multiple leadership positions available at the moment. They are an Operations Associate, Training Coordinator and Associate, Membership Associate and Membership Mobilisations Associate. Check all the vacancies at
– Adam MacSween, Disaster Relief Team Manager – Townsville


The Sydney DRT leadership team had a great face to face meeting on 25th March to welcome the new team members and set priorities. We have planned a social event for Sydney members to increase connection and sense of the DRA community in July.

Sydney DRT has setup a Facebook group and convenient messaging system to increase interaction between members. Already 95 members have joined. Deployment EOI’s have been linked and members are engaging with the posts.

A Logistics Associate Position is currently vacant. Get in touch if you know any suitable candidates. There are still Sydney DRT associate roles available notably in operations and mobilisation. Check the Careers page for full information and link to the EOI.
– Davina Pye, Disaster Relief Team Manager – Sydney


To celebrate you, our members, here is a run down of all our active members by each DRT.  We thank you for your service and support.

Sydney 301
Melbourne 194
Perth 163
Adelaide 134
Canberra 115
North Queensland 82

Spirit Awards

Our new member recognition program was launched in June 2021. Called the ‘Spirit Awards’, our newest recognition initiative appreciates the work of our DRA members. The monthly member recognition program allows you to nominate a DRA mate for being great. Members who exemplify our core values of courage, mateship, endurance, service, tenacity, and respect can be nominated each month by their peers and recognised for the hard work and selflessness they embody.

Anne Thomspon (3rd from left) with wave members on Operation Corkhill Phase II

Anne Thompson our first ‘Spirit Award’ winner

Anne has done an amazing job as LOGS for OP Corkhill Phase 1: (Eurobodalla) and also so far on OP Corkhill Phase 2: (Bega Valley). Anne is well organised and always puts the team first. During Wave 2, Anne wasn’t satisfied that the commercial food options were of sufficient quality so she cooked meals most nights for the team. She was also known to have done a coffee or a soup run to the teams out in the field who were working in the rain and wind and in very cold temperatures. Anne exemplifies selflessness and puts others first. She is an asset to DRA and the Canberra DRT.  She is a most worthy recipient of the member recognition award for June 2021.
– Michael Young, Disaster Relief Team Manager – Canberra

Anne is soft-spoken, unassuming and does not seek the spotlight. However, when there is a need for leadership, guidance or support, she was always there, and somehow we all just knew to look to her, and she was ready with the right words.

Anne always displayed the calm confidence I assume came from rectifying countless Army Financial Accountability ‘dramas and catastrophes’ that I’m confident she dealt with from Private to Major over almost a quarter of a century in uniform. From my conversations with Anne and seeing her in action, it’s evident that over the course of her life she has dedicated herself to the development of strong character, a wide variety of skills and deeply held values.

It was that character, skills and values, particularly service and tenacity that were demonstrated by her diligent and thoughtful care for the team on Corkhill Phase 2, wave 2. Every night, without fail, cooking not one, not two, but three or more different meals for the team of 8, to ensure that the dietary restrictions of all members didn’t preclude them from a hot, delicious meal on the chilli nights in Eden.

Anne has demonstrated these values many times before, over the waves of Corkhill Phase 1 in Moruya, where she resides. Often organising all manner of logistics and camp concerns, conducting damage assessments long before the four-day waves came to town and long after they had made the journey home.

I am proud to call Anne a friend, and fellow DRA member and I believe her example is one we should all aim to emulate.
– Warwick Lugton, National Training Manager

New Muster Webinar Sessions

New Muster webinar sessions have been introduced for useful tips and tricks for our members, book in a session today with our friendly membership team.

Member Feedback

We as an organisation are continually growing and expanding and the best way to move forward successfully is by receiving feedback from our valuable members. This is your opportunity to share your thoughts, ideas and improvements, to help us develop into an organisation that goes from strength to strength and puts our members at the forefront of our business.

Please complete the feedback form, if you have any further questions or would like to speak to a member of the team email and we will get in touch.

New National Membership Associate onboarded

Let us introduce Rob Wolff, he is our new volunteer National Membership Associate and we are very excited to have him onboard. Rob has a project & business development background and recently completed a postgraduate Masters degree in project management from the University of New South Wales (ADFA), with a particular interest in Humanitarian Logistics.  He has also completed a postgraduate Masters degree in Construction Practise through Bond University.

Rob enlisted in the Navy in 2009 as a direct entry clearance diver trainee, until he was involuntarily medically discharged. Underneath it all, this carries a sense of unfinished business, but since discovering DRA, he has gained a renewed sense of being a part of something greater, he feels DRA is a way to give back.

His favourite part of DRA is being out in the field, slugging away in the dirt, but he also understands the value and importance of what goes on behind the scenes and how that makes it all possible for our members to assist the everyday community who have been affected by disaster. He looks forward to learning and contributing to the overall effectiveness of a good team.

– Lee Dalzell, National Member Experience Manager


Recently there have been a lot of queries about different courses, timings, changes, when is this course going to be available etc. I thought I would take this opportunity to let you know what we have achieved this financial year so far, to give context to where we are, where we are going and to highlight the work of the training team and others who have assisted in making so many opportunities a reality.

Their work has been exemplary of many of DRA’s values, especially Service & Tenacity.

We have run 79 courses across DRA over the last financial year to date.

A snapshot of the figures to illustrate the impact are:

Chainsaw Courses: 251 members attended 33 courses (all years previously totaled 138).

IMT Pre-Deployment Course: 157 members attended 10 courses

Core Operations: 164 members attended 9 courses

First Aid: 89 members attended 12 courses

Imagery Analyst Training: 28 members attended 1 course

To a total of 689 members trained in just those courses.

There have also been several courses introduced to DRA for the first time in the last 12 months including: Level 3 RePL (Fixed Wing) for the ADAT team. Face to Face Incident Management Team Training and AIIMS 2017 training for Field Leadership elements.

A great expansion to our internal operational capability is also underway through the raising of a Plant Operations Capability and subsequent Skid Steer and Excavator training beginning in Melbourne last week, Brisbane this week with Adelaide, Canberra training events to planned to follow.

We have begun to utilise internally created e-learning packages for upskilling deploying members in Fulcrum use and other digital platforms that are necessary for our operations like Gap Guardian so everyone can utilise them efficiently when deploying on operations.

In conjunction with the Director of DRT’s a training plan for the next financial year’s training is in the final stages of shaping before being released in the coming months. This will include the newest offerings of Public Relations Officer and Strike Team Leader courses amongst many others.

I am happy to also inform everyone that we have just been granted access (today) to a significant number of the Phoenix Australia (Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health) Psychological First Aid and Trauma Informed Care (online) courses that will be available to apply for soon.

In summary, training is growing and professionalising to better equip DRA members with the skills and knowledge to safely and competently complete the tasks that we are confronted with, whether in the DRT, a service project or on Operations.

We are always looking for new team members, and as we expand our training courses, so too will we need to expand our instructor cadre and the administrators within the DRT’s to effectively and efficiently organise and deliver courses. If you think you might like to get involved reach out to me directly here
– Warwick Lugton, National Training Manager


Looking back on how DRA has evolved over the last 5 years I am constantly humbled to see how we have grown. This is often most evident in witnessing the growth of our Leadership Team. The career pathways in DRA are many. Many of us started as volunteer members then becoming volunteer leaders. Once we were able, some of our volunteer leaders began receiving humble stipends. Eventually opportunities for formal employment became available. There are now close to 100 leadership positions that now span that spectrum. Dedicated members that started off in volunteer positions eventually stepped into paid positions or were able to seek outside employment as a direct result of their professional development garnered from being a part of our Leadership Team. So when you think about a career with DRA consider different avenues in how this might come to fruition.

Have a look at our Careers page on our website and it will be evident of the many opportunities available.

DRA continues to grow and we have many exciting opportunities for permanent, part-time and contract employment in the pipeline. Please continue to monitor our website and look out for us on platforms such as LinkedIn, Seek and others for the posting of permanent positions we are recruiting for.
– Markus Bucy, Chief Operating Officer


The wider mobilisation team has had a massive 6 months of non-stop operations, service projects and training events right around Australia. With covid-19 constantly throwing challenges our way, we are getting pretty agile rolling with the changes and I cannot thank the extended leadership team and the DRA members themselves enough for their support of the mobilisation cell as we adapt and overcome, plan, execute and change things to keep DRA moving during a COVID world.

Being part of such a dynamic team is pretty amazing, and hearing the stories of our members after the amazing work they do in the field to help communities recover, keeps us inspired and motivated in keeping the wheels turning behind the scenes so our organisation can keep doing good for more people.

Thanks to Covid, we have recently hit a tactical pause on Op Corkhill Phase 2 (Bega), but already we are leaning forward into prepping an Operation in Mallacoota in late August/September, as well as hoping to get back to Bega to finish up our work there as soon as the dust settles on this latest outbreak. If you want to know more about whats around the corner, keep an eye out on the website, Tribe Chatter (member only FB Page), and your inbox.
– Leasa Stephen, National Mobilisation Manager

Op Mallacoota Pending

DRA is gearing up to launch a two-wave operation to assist the Black Summer Fire recovery operation in and around Mallacoota, in North Eastern Victoria. The dates are 28th August- Sunday 12th September 2021. Tribe members! Please check your availability to get out in the field with us to help this community with its ongoing recovery.

Wave One: Saturday 28th August- Sunday 5th September
Wave Two: Saturday 4th September- Sunday 12th September

The formal EOI for this operation will launch with the new tech platform in Mid July. So for now, please check out your diaries. Don’t want to miss out on getting that EOI in? Then send us an email at and we will add you to a “Keen as Mustard” list and flick you the eoi link when it kicks off.


There are big exciting things coming. During the shutdown week DRA will be moving off of Google and onto Microsoft. Anyone with a email address can view information, videos and help documents of this change at

This will mean we can embrace new collaborative abilities with a more powerful set of tools for our future growth
– Michael Hoffman, National Technology Manager

Safety Management

DRA continues to build its Safety Management System (SMS) whilst making sure that our members are working in environments which are as safe as possible. We do so whilst acknowledging the background of the majority of our members who are experienced in austere, stressful and hazardous environments where discipline, leadership, teamwork and resilience are essential.

We are not only developing policies and procedures but also building practical tools to assist in the automation of some of our safety functions and you can expect to see some of these rolled out in the near future.

The Safety Team is expanding and there is an active EOI seeking to appoint Safety Coordinators in each state.

Safety is a state of mind and is the responsibility of every member. “If you see something – do something about it! Speak up, act!”

Did you know what your legal duties are as a volunteer?

Volunteer State Safety Coordinators
Expressions of Interest (EOI) are called for several volunteer positions of State Safety Coordinator (SSC). A SSC will be appointed in Qld, NSW/ACT, Victoria, SA and WA. The SSC is responsible for management, development and oversight of safety within our Disaster Relief Team(s) (DRT) located in that state or territory. The position coordinates the adoption of effective risk and safety management practice and compliance across the DRT(s), and particularly during DRT field operations and selected training events. More information on our careers page.
– Tony Griffiths, National Safety Manager


A question for all IMT members that have used Smartsheet. Do you have any feedback?

Logs – the form you have used for entering expenses. Do you love or hate it? Do you think it needs more information on the form? Is it just outright too hard for you to use, and why? Do you have any improvement points..
Ops or Plans – what are your thoughts?
MCs – do the Sunday sessions help your team and provide the level of training required to set you up for a successful week, in this space. Emails can be sent to
– Shari Hurst, National Administration Manager