26 September 2023

PS staff volunteer for virus response

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Around 2,000 Australian Public Service (APS) staff have volunteered to be redeployed during the COVID-19 pandemic response.

APS Commissioner, Peter Woolcott (pictured) said the APS was “mobilising its resources” to ensure the delivery of services during the COVID-19 health crisis.

Mr Woolcott said Departments and Agencies had been asked to confirm their range of critical functions and staff by 30 March.

“We are currently analysing this information,” Mr Woolcott said.

“This analysis will also enable us to more readily identify those staff available to surge to the Government’s most critical functions.”

He said that in the short term, the key priority was increasing capacity in areas critical to the delivery of services during the pandemic, specifically the Department of Health and Services Australia.

“At the moment our focus is on supporting Services Australia’s requirement for an additional 5,000 staff to deliver the Jobseeker payment scheme,” Mr Woolcott said.

“This includes staff drawn from a range of sources, and APS staff are a critical component of this surge workforce.”

He said APS staff had already been moved to support the Department of Health, and around 280 additional members were now supporting the critical work of Services Australia, with more being onboarded each day since 31 March.

“We are ensuring our approach is flexible and adaptable, to ensure we are ready for any future requirements that might eventuate,” Mr Woolcott said.

“We are witnessing a major change in our operating model and a huge sense of Public Service on display.”

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