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Australia Assists

Australia Assists fact sheet

Australia Assists, Australian Aid


Australia Assists is an Australian Government funded program, managed by RedR Australia that deploys Australian specialists to work with governments, multilateral agencies and communities to prepare for, respond to, and recover from natural disasters and conflict.

The program enables the rapid mobilisation and deployment of Australian specialists into geographic and thematic areas of priority in line with Australia's humanitarian responsibilities and our national interests.

The program gives highly skilled Australians the opportunity to make a real difference to assist directly those most vulnerable to disasters and conflict.

This is an important capability in Australia's diplomatic 'toolkit' and ensures Australian expertise and influence is brought to bear on some of the biggest humanitarian challenges in our region and around the world.

Australia Assists involves a stand-by roster of over 700 Australian technical specialists, reflecting the skills and experience required in the multifaceted contexts of preparedness, response, and recovery.

Building on what works

Australia Assists builds on the strengths of two Australian deployment mechanisms: the Australian Civilian Corps, and the Australian Government's partnership with RedR Australia.

The program deepens the pool of specialists Australia can draw on and provides a streamlined way to deploy the right people at the right time. The program strengthens Australia's crisis response capability and helps step-up Australia's contribution to our Pacific partners and support to global crises. It also supports prevention efforts by using deployments to mitigate the risks and impact of disasters and conflict.

How do deployments work?

Two people talking, pointing
Australia Assists deployee, Suzanne is deployed to the World Food Programme (WFP) in Cox's Bazar. Here she discusses the challenging access conditions and arrangements to provide assistance from porters for vulnerable groups (pregnant women, lactating mothers, elderly, people with disability) to help them carry their food home. Photo credit: DFAT/RedR Australia

The program deploys specialists into national government agencies, UN agencies, Non-Government Organisations, and the private and academic sectors. The program prioritises deployment requests based on humanitarian need and Australia's priorities. Each year, Australia Assists will support around 100 deployments.

Deployments will vary in length depending on objectives. Shorter deployments (of about 3 months) are often for humanitarian emergency responses; longer deployments (12 to 18 months) can be used to strengthen capacity in partner organisations.

Australia Assists deploys the right person to the right place and at the right time to achieve the greatest possible impact.

Examples of previous deployments

Civilian specialists have helped to build the capacity of Australia's partners, including the National Disaster Management Offices (NDMOs) of our neighbouring Pacific countries. With the onset of Cyclone Donna in May 2017, two Australian specialists provided on-the-ground assistance to the Vanuatu NDMO to enhance its ability to prepare for and respond to the disaster.

Civilians also provide critical surge capacity in times of crisis. For example, DFAT supported RedR to deploy a water, sanitation and hygiene expert to work with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Lebanon, a country where one in four people is a refugee. The specialist worked with a team to supply safe drinking water, manage sewage and rubbish, and promote good hygiene practices.

Other examples of past deployments include:

  • Peacebuilding in Bougainville and the Philippines (Mindanao)
  • Elections support in Bougainville and PNG, Fiji, Solomon Islands and Nepal
  • Disaster recovery in Tonga (Cyclone Ian); the Philippines (Cyclone Haiyan); Vanuatu (Cyclone Pam); Solomon Islands (floods); Nepal (2015 earthquake); Fiji (Cyclone Winston)
  • Disaster preparedness in Vanuatu, Tonga, Samoa, Fiji, Indonesia and East Timor
  • Humanitarian aid in Myanmar, Jordan, Lebanon, Horn of Africa
  • Law and justice assistance in Afghanistan and South Sudan
  • Anti-piracy work in the western Indian Ocean

RedR Australia

RedR Australia manages the Australia Assists program.

Two people talking in a laboratory
Since 2014, thousands of Syrian refugees have been stranded in Rukban camp, located in a military zone on the Syrian border. Australia Assists deployed Civil-Military Specialist John to work with UNDP Jordan to ensure the health centre in the camp can operate and deliver essential services. Photo credit: DFAT/ RedR Australia/Patrick Shepherd.

RedR Australia is a not-for-profit, international humanitarian relief organisation. As the third largest UN Standby Partner in the world, and the only Standby Partner in the Asia Pacific and southern hemisphere, RedR Australia can deploy specialists into 11 UN Agencies. This extends Australia's reach, access and influence within the UN system. The organisation's internationally recognised training enhances the capability of Australian humanitarian specialists to carry out their work competently, ethically and safely.

The Australian Government has worked with RedR Australia since 2011 to recruit, train and deploy specialists into UN agencies to provide humanitarian assistance.

How do you become a roster member?

Roster members must go through an application, vetting and training process with RedR Australia. For further information on joining the roster and targeted areas of expertise, visit RedR Roster.

Two women sitting, talking
Australia Assists deployee and Gender and Protection Advisor Nim speaks to a local community member about the Ambae Volcano Resettlement Response in Vanuatu. Photo credit: DFAT/RedR Australia.
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