APS Surge Reserve
Do you want to help Australians in 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 and develop skills beyond your regular position.
Join the APS Surge Reserves today!
History of the APS Surge Reserve
The extraordinary events which have occurred since the summer of 2019-20 have been the catalyst for a range of actions by the Australian Public Service (APS). The APS has had to respond in flexible and innovative ways to help support Australians impacted by those events.
These actions included redeploying employees to help Australians during the 2019‑20 bushfires and the 2021 floods. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Australian Public Service completed the largest mobilisation of employees in living memory, deploying more than 2,500 APS employees moving across the Service employees into areas of critical need.
Out of these responses the APS Surge Reserve has been established as an enduring capability of the APS to give our people the opportunity to lend a hand across Government agencies in times of crisis. While we cannot know the precise nature of the next crisis , establishing the APS Surge Reserve allows the APS to be better placed to respond quickly and support Australians during future crises.
The APS Surge Reserve
The APS Surge Reserve provides Australia with the capacity to rapidly mobilise Australian Public Service (APS) volunteers in large numbers in response to a crisis.
- Surge Reservists deploy for short periods (initial terms of up to eight weeks) to help colleagues address a surge in demand for government services or support.
- Every portfolio contributes to the Reserve, with staff coming from most agencies.
- Surge Reservists could be asked to do almost any kind of work carried out in government, depending on the need.
- Best of all, Surge Reservists will be able to contribute their efforts to help Australians in a time of crisis.
Am I eligible to join the APS Surge Reserve?
The APS Surge Reserve needs people who are:
- Existing APS employees at the APS1-EL2 range (or equivalents)
- Flexible and adaptable
- Quick learners
- Willing to redeploy to another agency on short notice (you will be able to decide at the time if you can go on deployment).
- Resilient and cope well with change
- Located across Australia.
Can you help fellow Australians through the next crisis?
APS Surge Reservists will have the opportunity to be at the forefront of helping the Australian community, while learning new skills and broadening professional networks to progress their APS careers.
As an APS Surge Reservist, you will:
- Support your fellow Australians in their time of need.
- Learn and immerse yourself in another department’s expertise and deliverables
- Deliver services that are critical to the community
- Meet new people and broaden your professional networks
- Demonstrate and develop your leadership skills
- Participate in a unique experience and expand your skillset
Below is some feedback received from APS Surge Reservists who deployed in 2021:
“Being able to do my part to help people during a time of need instilled a sense of purpose amidst the uncertainty of the pandemic.”
“I formed wonderful friendships and strong networks with my fellow APS Surge Reservists”
“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.”
How Do I Sign Up?
The APS Surge Reserve volunteer list is always open for nominations.
If you wish to join the APS Surge Reserve, please contact your Agency’s Surge Reserve point of contact (usually your Human Resources Representative). If you do not know who that is, or if have any questions about the Surge Reserve, please contact you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 whilst 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, Surge secondees 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 volunteers stepping up to help fellow APS employees in a crisis. Leaving a deployment early could impact the Commonwealth’s ability to help Australians in need. However, Surge nominees unable to continue their deployment may return to their home agency on their or their home agency’s request.