Skip to main content

Find disaster recovery services and support

First select disaster or event(s)Expand list
Select assistance typeExpand list
Disaster Relief Australia supporting communities in their recovery efforts

Disaster Relief Australia supporting communities in their recovery efforts

After a disaster, the faster communities recover the faster people can continue their lives. Businesses can open again, and local economies and social networks can re-establish and rebuild. We have been working with Disaster Relief Australia to provide relief and recovery support to Australian communities following a disaster.


Working with Disaster Relief Australia

Disaster Relief Australia (DRA), established in 2016, aims to provide immediate, medium, and long-term recovery assistance to communities affected by disasters. Instead of relying solely on the Australian Defence Force (ADF), who have previously supported disasters, DRA utilises the skills and experience of its volunteers, including serving and former ADF personnel, emergency response specialists, and civilians to respond.

DRA’s first recovery operation saw volunteers deployed to Proserpine in Far North Queensland after Tropical Cyclone Debbie in April 2017. Over three weeks, 62 volunteers helped the Proserpine community recover. Through this experience it became clear this kind of work was an ideal way to engage the skills and experience of military veterans.


Operation Centaur assisting South East Queensland communities

NEMA deployed Disaster Relief Australia to lead recovery efforts after the Gold Coast storms in December 2023, where heavy rain, flooding, and strong winds caused significant damage.

This deployment was the first time non-ADF personnel were the primary response. Volunteers have been working in Logan City, Scenic Rim and City of Gold Coast Local Government Areas to support recovery since 2 January 2024.


Operation Baird supporting Far North Queensland recovery

Additionally, Disaster Relief Australia was tasked with supporting the recovery of Far North Queensland after extreme flooding caused by Tropical Cyclone Jasper.

Operation Baird provided damage and impact assessments, route clearance, property access measures and debris removal to the community since the deployment began on 12 January 2024. In describing the response of DRA members, Ben Lesslie, mission commander leading the recovery operation in the three communities said, “We could be here for weeks or months, and that provides motivation to our members that we’re here to help, and we’ve got a big job ahead of us.”


Australian Government funding supporting Disaster Relief Australia

The Australian Government, through NEMA, supports DRA's work with a commitment of $38.3 million over four years, from 2022-23. This funding has allowed Disaster Relief Australia to support more volunteers and cover their engagement, training, equipment, and deployments.

The Commonwealth funding directly supports the independent findings of the 2023 Defence Strategic Review. This review recommended using the ADF as a last resort when supporting communities during and following disasters. NEMA’s commitment to DRA gives the ADF the ability to focus on its core mission and provides DRA volunteers the opportunity to use their skills and experience to support Australian communities in times of need.