Home' Defence Magazine : Issue 1 2011 Contents 26 > DEFENCE MAGAZINE
By Hugh McKenzie
NEVER in his wildest dreams
did Director General Defence
Community Organisation (DCO)
Michael Callan expect a parent of a
deployed member to sob their thanks for
taking an interest during the Queensland
“We had an inkling early on, as the
waters began to rise, that we’d become
involved with those deployed members who
couldn’t be there to help their families.
“Locating families and making sure they
were all right was a major undertaking for
DCO,” Mr Callan said.
During the crisis DCO mounted a call-
centre capability at their headquarters in
DCO used the National Welfare
Coordination Centre at HQ JOC as the
coordination point for incoming calls.
DCO found itself acting in an assessment
and information exchange situation, putting
people in touch with the agencies they
This is not unusual; it is part of the
“In cases where it was obvious that a
family was not able to help itself, we would
do that for them and alert the appropriate
agencies to the problem. That was a major
“We kept the three services and HQJOC
informed of progress in contacting
families,” Mr Callan said.
An early crisis for DCO was loss of contact
with three members in Queensland.
Rising water had knocked out
communications, which made it difficult
for DCO to operate effectively.
Most of the staff managed to make their
way to evacuation centres and continued
their work locating Defence families there.
“A key lesson for us is that a lot of
the information in PMKeyS is out of date
and that made it really difficult to find
families and it became time consuming
because we’d have to cross check two or
DCO put together a community crisis
plan that listed all the agencies families
would need during and after the floods.
At the flood peak DCO was in contact
with 700 families all in one day.
Tasks included organising emergency
accommodation to extending car hire
arrangements, all done with ordinary
phones, mobiles and computers.
“If I had a wish list it would to
tell everyone to get their PMKeyS entries
up to date. I can prepare for anything,
provide services but it’s pointless if
the information is out of date,”
Mr Callan said.
“That’s what slowed us down and made
things very difficult, so that’d be top of
the wish list.”
covered by levels of
By Michael Weaver
Defence’s recent provision of numerous
resources and assets to flood-affected
areas of Queensland, Victoria and
Western Australia, plus assistance to
north-east Queensland in the aftermath
of Cyclone Yasi is an example of what is
known as Defence Assistance to the Civil
Broadly, there are two types of DACC
support – emergency and non-emergency –
with three further categories of assistance
allocated to each respective tasking.
The area of Defence responsible for
facilitating all DACC support is Joint
Operational Support Staff (JOSS), which
comes under the direction of Defence
Support Group. There are JOSS offices in
each capital city and Townsville.
DACC category two support was
initiated to provide assistance as part of
Operations Queensland Flood Assist and
“Sometimes the differences between
DACC categories are who is able to
authorise the commitment of Defence
resources, so in one case it might be a
local commander providing emergency
response of a short duration to save life
or limb, under DACC category one,” AVM
Paule said. Some initial Defence response
to the Queensland floods was of this type.
“Another category, DACC category two
might be similar to the flood assistance
package where a large body of Defence
assets were provided over a lengthy
period of time, and that would require
CDF or ministerial approval.”
DACC support of a non-emergency
nature include assistance to other
government departments, authorities or
organisations, commercial enterprises,
non-profit organisations, or individuals
or bodies in the general community. This
includes Defence assets being employed
for public events of significance such
the Brisbane Festival’s Riverfire event,
the NRL Grand Final and the Australian
Formula One Grand Prix.
“If I had a wish list it would to tell everyone to get their
PMKeyS entries up to date. I can prepare for anything, I
can turn on the head of a pin to provide services but it’s
pointless if the information is out of date.”
Director General Defence Community Organisation, Mr Michael Callan
> DACC should be regarded as the
exception, not the rule.
> Defence resources are intended to be
used for Defence purposes.
> Provision of assistance should not
compete with the private sector.
> The aims of the requesting organisation
should be identified and it must be
appropriate for Defence to assist.
> Non-emergency DACC is more likely to
be approved where training benefits for
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