26 September 2023

Health emergency group has busiest year

Start the conversation

For the first time in its history Australia’s National Incident Centre (NIC) has been activated continuously for more than one year, responding to unprecedented health emergencies.

As the Department of Health’s emergency operations centre, the NIC coordinates Australia’s health emergency response to national and international incidents.

Minister for Health, Greg Hunt said the NIC was activated in November last year in response to a measles outbreak in Samoa, it continued to act during the 2019–2020 bushfires, the Whakaari Island volcano eruption and the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I want to thank all of the extraordinarily talented, dedicated and hardworking staff of the National Incident Centre over the past year,” Mr Hunt said.

“The staff of the NIC have embodied the concept of real and profound public service,” he said.

“We are fortunate to have had such a well-prepared and well-drilled centre as the NIC in place before the pandemic.”

Mr Hunt said the NIC was also the Operations Headquarters for Australia’s national response to the pandemic.

“Their work around the clock allowed Australia to maintain an air bridge for critical and scarce global supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE) and test kits at a time of international shortage,” the Minister said.

He said that at its peak, the NIC engaged more than 200 employees, including liaison officers from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australian Border Force and the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Mr Hunt said surge staff included epidemiologists and analysts from the Department of Defence, the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment and the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

Start the conversation

Be among the first to get all the Public Sector and Defence news and views that matter.

Subscribe now and receive the latest news, delivered free to your inbox.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.