Cyclone and flood responders now eligible for National Emergency Medal

Release Date: 
30 March 2020
Media release

Volunteers and emergency workers who directly responded to Tropical Cyclone Debbie in 2017 and the 2019 North Queensland Floods are now eligible to apply for the National Emergency Medal.

Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister and Cabinet Ben Morton said acknowledging the service of thousands of volunteers and emergency responders was importnant.

“Through grit and determination, these men and women were able to protect property and save lives. They exemplify the great Australian community spirit and mateship that helps get us through challenging times.  Their efforts and contribution during these events should be acknowledged,” Assistant Minister Morton said.

“Tropical Cyclone Debbie caused substantial damage to parts of Queensland and northern NSW in March and April 2017.

“Tragically fourteen people lost their lives and over 2,000 homes were damaged. The loss of property and the damage to local industry significantly impacted local communities.

“Serious social and economic impacts were felt again when floods affected parts of northern Queensland in 2019. Five lives were lost and there was substantial property damage.

“Without our dedicated emergency responders and volunteers, these impacts would have been far greater. It’s fitting they can now get the recognition they deserve.”

The Governor-General, His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Retd), agreed to a recommendation from the Australian Government, and the National Emergency Medal Committee, that these events be declared nationally-significant emergencies.

This follows the recent announcement that brave responders will be eligible to receive a medal in recognition of their service during the 2019-20 Black Summer Bushfire season.

The National Emergency Medal, established in 2011, recognises service in response to a nationally‑significant emergency. More than 15,000 people have been recognised for their selfless service to the bushfires in Victoria in 2009 and the floods in Queensland in December/January 2010-11. For more information, visit: https://www.gg.gov.au/australian-honours-and-awards/national-emergency-medal