APS Surge Reserve
Do you want to help your community and know you are making a difference during a crisis? Can you rise to the challenge? Are you an APS employee?
Becoming an APS Surge Reservist is a unique opportunity to support your fellow Australians during and immediately after major disasters or emergencies, while learning new skills beyond your regular position.
Join the APS Surge Reserves today!
What is the APS Surge Reserve?
Have you ever wanted to help out during a large-scale disaster but you’re not sure how to do it? The APS Surge Reserve could be just what you’re looking for.
The extraordinary events of 2019 and 2020 were a catalyst for the Australian Public Service (APS) creating a more flexible approach to delivering critical services to support
The APS Surge Reserve is a reserve of diverse APS employees who have put their hand up to help out when disaster strikes. From floods to fires and global pandemics, there’s always a need for the APS to assist Australians in crisis.
The APS Surge Reserve is an opportunity to use your generalist APS skills and experience to help your fellow Australians in their time of need. It’s also an opportunity to learn new skills and gain experience from a different type of public service work in a different agency. The best part is, you won’t need to leave your home city to perform the important work and of course you retain the entitlements of your regular job too.
The video below shows what to expect as a Reservist, or you can read on to find out more. If you’re already sure you’re interested in joining the APS Surge Reserve, sign up today.
The APS Surge Reserve
The Australian Public Service (APS) Surge Reserve provides an opportunity for APS employees to contribute towards supporting Australians to withstand and recover from major disasters or emergencies.
The APS Surge Reserve mobilises Australian Public Service (APS) staff in large numbers to respond to large-scale national emergencies. The APS Surge Reserve is made up of APS employees (known as Reservists) who register their interest to move temporarily at short notice to another agency with the support of their home agency, to help Australians affected by major disasters or emergencies.
Over the past few years, reservists have helped Australians affected by the:
- severe weather events such as the 2021 and 2022 floods
- Black Summer bushfire response
- the COVID-19 pandemic.
Am I eligible to join the APS Surge Reserve?
APS employees at the APS 1 – EL2 level or equivalent can join the APS Surge Reserve.
APS staff who join the APS Surge Reserve are people who are:
- flexible and adaptable
- a quick learner, or willing to learn
- resilient and able to cope well with change
- located across Australia.
Benefits of joining the APS Surge Reserve
As an APS employee, joining the APS Surge Reserve will allow you to:
- help communities across Australia affected by major disasters or emergencies
- meet new people and expand professional networks
- gain experience working in another agency
- broaden skills and try different work
- access learning and development to help prepare for a future deployment
- be recognised for public service contribution in helping Australian communities during emergencies.
Below is some feedback received from APS Surge Reservists who deployed in 2021:
"I liked knowing that the work that I did helped a lot of people in need during a difficult time, it gave a real connection to the community and a feeling behind One APS.”
Reservist, NSW ( COVID deployment 2020)
"It was a privilege to have the opportunity to help Australians in crisis and know that you are making a difference. I would certainly do it again and encourage others to do the same. It was a great experience”.
Reservist (Flood disaster 2021)
"Just knowing I was assisting the Australian community was all I needed which made me feel I was doing my part as an Australian”
Reservist – Paula, ACT (Flood Disaster Mar-Apr 2022)
"I formed wonderful friendships and strong networks with my fellow APS surge reservists. I broadened the depth of my APS experience through gaining first-hand experience in service delivery at a critical time of need".
Reservist – Sophie, QLD (COVID-Delta 2021)
How do I sign up?
Joining the APS Surge Reserve is easy, just click on the link below and complete your details. We do recommend you talk to your manager or supervisor as their agreement will be sought to enable your release to participate in surge deployment.
Frequently Asked Questions
What kind of work will I be doing?
Reservists may serve in a variety of areas depending on operational requirements.
Every deployment is different and the skills and experience required may vary between surge activities.
You may be able to use your specialist skills, but you may also be asked to learn something that is completely different from your day-to-day work.
Examples of tasks undertaken by previous surge reservists include:
- Payment processing
- Risk assessments
- General administration duties
- Contact tracing
Will my entitlements change while I am on Deployment?
Whilst participating in a Surge activity, you will remain under your Home Agency’s Enterprise Agreement (EA)/Employment conditions. This includes personal leave, shift work entitlements, flex time, and overtime.
If you are unsure of your entitlements, please contact your Home Agency’s HR Team.
I am a part time employee. Am I still eligible to participate?
Yes. We welcome applications from part time employees.
Can I get Higher Duties when I am deployed?
APS Surge Reserve deployments are at your current level. However, if you are acting in a higher duties capacity when you are deployed, this will continue. There may be opportunities for higher duties depending on the deployment requirements.
Can I take leave during the deployment?
Personal leave can be taken as usual. Annual and other forms of planned leave should be discussed with your agency contact before you deploy.
Will I have to travel to participate in a deployment activity?
Your agency’s existing enterprise agreement travel arrangements will apply. Generally, Reservists will not be expected to travel to carry out a role, although you may need to attend a different office in your city.
Can I leave a Surge activity prior to my scheduled end date?
The APS Surge Reserve relies on its Reservists to step up to help fellow APS employees in a crisis. Leaving a deployment early could impact the Commonwealth’s ability to help Australians in need.