The Governor-general has mobilised the Army Reserves and a team of 50 are in New Italy helping to clear fire trails and clear fire devastation. PICTURE: SUSANNA FREYMARK
The Governor-general has mobilised the Army Reserves and a team of 50 are in New Italy helping to clear fire trails and clear fire devastation. PICTURE: SUSANNA FREYMARK

Army reserves are doing heavy lifting for fire recovery

THE unmistakeable camouflage uniforms of Australia’s Army Reserves have been welcomed to Richmond Valley.

The reserve team said people stopped them when they were getting petrol and thanked them for being here.

For the first time in the nation’s history, the Governor-general ordered the Australian Army Reserves to help with fire recovery.

Fifty reserves are assisting in the New Italy area.

We met six of them clearing a fire trail on Serendipty Rd.

Lt James Weyler said they came from units as far north as Tweed and from Port Macquaire in the south.

“We all have civilian jobs,” Lt Weyler said.

They are carpenters, work in the public service or at Big W in Grafton, and have served overseas and in Australia.

While they are trained and paid to be in the Army Reserves, the move by the Governor-general David Hurley to deploy troops was “unprecedented,” Lt Weyler said.

The reserves plans to stay in New Italy until January 28.

Mid Richmond Police and Richmond Valley mayor Robert Mustow and general manager Vaughan Macdonald have been co-ordinating recovery efforts with the Army Reserves.


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