Vets at your service

THE veteran-led volunteer organisation Disaster Relief Australia (DRA) now has a team in Tasmania and is recruiting new members. The team has already been busy on the ground in the state and assisted last year’s recovery effort in North-west Tasmania after the cyclonic wind event.

DRA helps Australian communities rebuild after disasters, such as floods, bushfires, and cyclones. The organisation unites the skills and experiences of Australian Defence Force veterans, emergency responders and everyday Australians. It rapidly deploys disaster relief teams locally, nationally and around the globe to assist communities in need.

With more than 2500 volunteers, DRA has nine Disaster Relief Teams (DRTs) Australia-wide. The Tasmanian DRT is the latest addition to the network and a welcome addition to Tasmania’s local and national disaster relief efforts. Volunteers are deployed to communities post-disaster to assist with debris removal, home repairs, maintenance and provide safe, practical, and structured on-the ground support.

DRA capabilities include incident management, damage and impact assessment, aerial damage assessment and mapping, work order management, spontaneous volunteer management as well as resilience and capacity building.

To date, DRA has deployed its volunteers to more than 25 disaster relief operations throughout Australia. It continues to grow and 2023 will be its busiest year yet with multiple recovery operations already underway in Victoria, NSW and potentially SA. Tasmania DRT Manager Scott Whiley said DRA had never needed people more.

“DRA is a unique proposition. We put the experience, skills, and discipline of veterans and civilian counterparts to practical use in communities that are experiencing their worst days,’’ Mr Whiley said. “Tasmania fights well above its weight when it comes to military history and helping mates in distress.

“Our veterans work alongside emergency services personnel and civilians and establish connections with people outside of the military and develop rapport with individuals and communities recovering from a disaster. “We help communities and we help our volunteers.”

DRA provides full volunteer training as well as training across all areas, including first aid, chainsaw training and 4×4 driving.

If you are keen to assist when disaster strikes, provide practical help to communities in need, learn new skills and be part of a team, or simply wish to learn more about DRA and the difference you could make as a DRA volunteer visit www. or contact Scott Whiley at scott.whiley@