Australians who put their lives on hold to serve the community during a year of devastating bushfires and a global pandemic are today being recognised at the Lord Mayor’s Reserve Forces Day celebration.

Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner said hundreds of Brisbane reservists left their jobs, their families and their lives in support of state authorities to help keep the community safe during the pandemic and the bushfire recovery effort.

“Traditional July 1 Reserve Forces Day celebrations were postponed due to restrictions and now, as we slowly return to a sense of normalcy, is the perfect time to acknowledge the efforts of army, navy and air force reservists,” Cr Schrinner said.

“Our reservists always remain ready to serve their country during its hour of need and are required to maintain the same level of knowledge and expertise as full-time defence force members, while working their regular jobs

“This discipline, dedication and selflessness was crucial in helping us respond to the crises that have hit our nation in 2020 and continue to aid our recovery efforts.

“Thousands of reservists, including Brisbane reservists, gave their time and risked their health to support our frontline workers with logistical and medical support during quarantine efforts.

“Our city and state could not have kept COVID-19 under control as well as we have done without the assistance of our defence reservists.

“Thousands of Australian Defence Force reservists were also deployed to help with the bushfire recovery effort across Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia. Through their assistance and valuable skills, our reservists were able to help fire-hit communities get back on their feet.

Commander of Army’s 11th Brigade (Queensland’s Army Reserve brigade) Brigadier David Thomae commended the efforts of the ADF Reserve over the past 12 months.

“ADF Reserve personnel from all over Queensland have made an enormous commitment to supporting state emergency services during the 2019/20 bushfires and more recently during COVID-19 pandemic.

“During the summer bushfires, reserve personnel were clearing paths back to people’s homes, providing life support to state emergency services and even helping re-fuel water bombers.

“At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Army Reserves were Queensland’s first and primary ADF response, supporting the Queensland Police with mandatory hotel quarantine, border control, quarantine of specific high-risk indigenous communities and contact tracing. 

“As we approach the high risk weather season, the ADF Reserves are ready and able to support state emergency services wherever they may be needed,” Brigadier Thomae said.

Cr Schrinner said today’s ceremony was also an important time to thank employers and families for their flexibility, patience and support for reservists moving between work, home and Defence duties.