Victorians deployed to assist with NSW flood response

22 March 2021
11 people from Victoria's emergency management sector standing side by side at Melbourneairport.

Close to 30 Victoria State Emergency Service (VICSES) personnel have already been deployed to New South Wales over the past two days to support the state’s on-going flood disaster.

The NSW SES has requested support from Victoria through the State Control Centre, with the first VICSES Senior Command Team arriving at NSW SES HQ in Wollongong on Sunday. This team is coordinating Victoria’s multi-agency requests with the National Resource Sharing Centre (NRSC).  

Victoria has been requested to provide additional Incident Management Team (IMT) resources to various locations including metro Sydney, as well as the state’s mid and north coast. They’ll help in managing the response, coordinating emergency services in the field, along with community warnings.

Currently NSW is experiencing one of its biggest flood events in several decades, with four times the monthly average rainfall seen already, with more than 7,000 requests for assistance to date and almost 800 flood rescues. NSW is expected to see another three days of heavy rainfall from Port Macquarie to Bega.

Departing from Albury and Melbourne, the first group of VICSES members are from Central, North East, North West and Mid-West teams. One member from the Country Fire Authority was also part of the contingent of 11 which left Melbourne Airport today.

Emergency Management Commissioner Andrew Crisp said the State Control Centre is supporting this deployment with planning, resources and logistics. Further requests for resources, equipment and emergency services personnel from VICSES, Life Saving Victoria and Fire Rescue Victoria, are expected over coming days.

“Thanks to those who have volunteered already and to their employers who let them go at short notice. Such is the scale of what we’re seeing in NSW, we expect the request for VICSES field crews will still come. We’re preparing how we can help out now, while ensuring we maintain operational capability in Victoria as this rain system heads further south,” said Commissioner Crisp.

“Over this next week there’s a low risk in far east of Victoria for riverine flooding, but some potential flash flooding with this higher rainfall. We’re prepared for these scenarios,” added Commissioner Crisp.

VICSES Chief Officer Operations, Tim Wiebusch, said he expects the commitment will be significant across the response and recovery phase in NSW over the next two to three weeks.

“We are starting to really see the effects of La Ninã, with vast rainfalls across the east coast of Australia. For parts of NSW they are experiencing 1 in 50-year or 1 in 100-year flooding, with widespread consequences from the north to the south coast,” said Chief Officer Operations Wiebusch.

Victoria’s strong and ongoing relationships with other states mean we can share personnel, skills, knowledge, equipment and experience. South Australia and Queensland have also received formal requests for assistance from NSW.