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Deployment pack

Community Recovery work

Community Recovery work is your contribution to the total humanitarian effort provided by a number of government and non-government organisations after a disaster.

Your role

You need to be flexible and do whatever (lawful) work is asked of you. If you are assigned to a manager, team leader or technical role in the recovery operation, and have not been given a ‘role function’ ask for one. These documents outline the key responsibilities of the position and list the tools available to support you in undertaking your role.

Your standard daily hours of work will be rostered, although recovery work is generally dictated by demand and you will most likely work additional hours to meet that demand.

Expect to work weekends and public holidays if your deployment period extends across those days. The standard deployment period, i.e. 5 continuous days working in Community Recovery, allows for two Critical Incident (Special Leave) days. These 2 days allow you to rest and recuperate at the end of your deployment period. Critical Incident leave must be taken immediately on your return from Community Recovery - before you return to normal duties, or before you are deployed again.

Look after yourself — do not take any unnecessary risks. Tell someone if you are not coping, are having difficulty with the work, feeling unwell or exhausted. Do not be a martyr — we all have our limits.

If you are unwell and are unable to attend your assigned Community Recovery workplace, you must notify your Community Recovery Team Leader or Manager as well as your normal line manager. You must also complete a sick leave application when you return to your normal job.

Code of Conduct

While on deployment you are representing the Government as a public official within the disaster impacted community so please conduct yourself accordingly. Remember that the Code of Conduct for the Queensland Public Service applies to all staff deployed for Community Recovery at all times. This includes the appropriate handling of confidential or private information.

The Department Communities, Disability Services and Seniors (DCDSS) may decide to send a person home early if there are serious concerns about conduct. Community Recovery management will ensure that any action regarding employee conduct is managed in accordance with Community Recovery: Employee Conduct – Managers Guide.

Additional HR instructions

Please contact the Ready Reserve contact for your department, or DCDSS Region or CBD Business Area.

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What to pack

You are being deployed into a disaster area. This guide may vary depending on the type of disaster and your personal circumstances. Remember to expect the unexpected and be flexible!


  • Light neat, comfortable clothing sufficient for the period of your deployment suitable for the location you are being deployed to:
    • Full-length slacks, trousers or jeans (covered legs for mosquitoes)
    • Long-sleeved lightweight shirts or T-shirts
  • Underwear and socks (sufficient for the period of your deployment)
  • Jumper or jacket (e.g. anorak or spray jacket)
  • Pyjamas suitable for use in a share accommodation situation (could be a tent, school classroom or hall with multiple staff members)
  • Hat (large brimmed if possible)
  • Raincoat or rain poncho


  • Closed-in comfortable footwear for work X 2 (joggers, hiking boots, gumboots, lace up shoes) (in case one pair becomes wet or muddy) – NO THONGS OR SANDALS TO BE WORN FOR WORK

Personal items

    • Reading glasses
    • Sunglasses
    • Mobile phone and battery charger (for personal use). Information will be provided on any anticipated reception/coverage issues in the disaster area.
    • Personal medication
    • Personal toiletries, earplugs
    • Personal safety kit (Band-Aids, antiseptic cream etc.)
    • Hand sanitizer gel wash
    • Towel (hand towels may be handy in hot and humid weather)
    • Sunscreen
    • Insect repellent – with DEET as active ingredient
    • Umbrella
    • Small amount of cash (e.g. $50-$60) unless advised otherwise
    • Small amount of washing powder
    • 1 x 600ml bottle of water
    • Small snacks (e.g. muesli bars, chocolate, jelly beans, biscuits).

Other items

      • Bank account details (bank name, account name, BSB and account number). You need this to complete your travel allowance claim documents
      • Taxi e-Tickets (for travel to/from home airport if required)
      • Driver’s licence
      • Government Name Badge
      • Queensland Government employee identification card or other photo identification
      • Queensland Government corporate card - if you are from the DCDSS ONLY
      • Personal credit card (accommodation may require imprint for any personal charges during your stay).

Baggage limit

Unless you are advised otherwise your baggage limits will normally be:

  • 7kg carry-on
  • 23kg checked baggage

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Travel to your assigned Community Recovery location

You will receive a telephone call to confirm that you are ready for deployment. Your Deployment Coordinator will discuss any transport requirements when they call.

Wherever possible you must use government funded transport options, e.g. government vehicles, train, bus, or air to travel to/from your deployment location. You can claim the costs of any eligible travel expenses you incur. Keep your receipts/tax invoices and attach these to your claim form.

All staff being deployed will receive a Deployment Email with:

      • The period of your deployment and your schedule return to your usual workplace
      • Important workplace health and safety information
      • Community Recovery Timesheet and relevant claim forms
      • Staff travelling away from home will receive a second email with travel and accommodation details
      • These emails will be sent to both your work and home email.

You must forward your Deployment Email to your Line Manager to inform them of your absence from your usual workplace.

Private car

Motor Vehicle Allowances Directive 20/16 / DCDSS Private Motor Vehicle Claims Procedure.

You can submit a claim if you satisfy the following requirements:

      1. There are no other reasonable options to get to your assigned Community Recovery work location at the appointed time, including a government car or public transport i.e. you are required to drive your private car; and
      2. The distance between your residence and your Community Recovery work location is greater than the distance between your residence and your normal headquarters; and
      3. Based on the above, your Deployment Coordinator has agreed, and provided you with written confirmation, that you can drive your private car.

To claim a Mileage Allowance you must contact your insurance company before you drive to your Community Recovery work location, and ask for an endorsement indemnifying your employer against certain liabilities at law. This is a standard endorsement available on request from all insurance companies.

Reimbursement is based on engine size and a prescribed per kilometre rate.

To claim this allowance you must provide a copy of your Comprehensive MV Insurance Policy or Third Party Property Damage Insurance Policy showing the indemnity was in place on the date you drove to/from your Community Recovery work location.

If you were not able to obtain the indemnity you can claim eligible Fuel Costs. Reimbursement is based on the kilometres travelled, the cost of fuel purchased, and the car’s fuel usage rate.

Airport parking: can only be claimed if there are no other reasonable transport options available and driving and parking for the duration of your deployment is more cost effective than other means of transport.

Be sure to discuss this with your Deployment Coordinator when your deployment is being organized so that you can be sent the relevant claim forms with your Deployment Email.


The use of taxis for official departmental business, within or outside business hours, must only occur where:

      • a departmental vehicle is not available or
      • Public transport, including the air train, is not available, a safety concern, or not cost effective to use.

Where required, e-Tickets may be available – ask your Deployment Coordinator.

By plane

Where required, flights will be booked for you. You will receive an email with flight details and a booking reference number.

You must take photo ID to the airport (e.g. driver’s licence, passport or social security card) - you will need this to check-in and obtain a boarding pass.

Please note that Ready Reserves are not authorised to change their air travel bookings. Changes to bookings incur additional costs. Any issues regarding changes to flight bookings should be managed through the Deployment Team in Brisbane.

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Staying away overnight

Accommodation and meals

We will book a room and provide breakfast and dinner.

You will be booked into a single room where possible. Be aware that you may need to share a hotel room with other deployed staff. You may be accommodated in a hall with multiple staff members, or may even need to sleep on a camp bed or in a tent. Please pack accordingly.

      • Do not change any bookings that have been made for you.
      • Do not charge expenses of a private nature e.g. alcohol, movie hire, mini-bar, private telephone calls or meal costs above the allowance to the room.
      • Do consider that due to the disaster it may not always be possible to cater for special dietary requirements. You should also let your Team Leader and meal provider know when you arrive in the disaster area.
      • On checkout confirm that no ineligible costs have been booked to your room – this is particularly important if you have been sharing a room.
      • Be aware that you may need to contribute to preparing team meals, or eat pre-packaged meals, depending on the disaster impact and the meal options that are available.

Meal allowance

You will be entitled to claim a meal allowance if you are not provided with meals.

Claim an allowance when:

      • Lunch is not provided.
      • Special dietary requirements cannot be met.
      • You miss your pre-paid meal due to recovery-related work requirements.

You will be reimbursed in accordance with the relevant meal allowance1.

Incidental allowance

An incidental allowance is paid to Ready Reserve members for each night you are away from home. Reimbursements are processed through the DCDSS’ accounts payable system.

The overnight incidental allowance is $17.30 per night2.

Hardship allowance

When an RACQ 3 star rated property or equivalent is not available, and a hardship allowance is warranted in the circumstances

      • The hardship allowance is $47.05 per night3.
      • This allowance is taxable and will be paid through your payroll department.
      • 1 Domestic Travelling and Relieving Expenses Directive 9/11
      • 2 Domestic Travelling and Relieving Expenses Directive 9/11
      • 3 Critical Incident Entitlements and Conditions Directive 06/16

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Returning home each night

Staff who are required to travel for Community Recovery, but return home each night, may claim eligible costs they incur. This may include:

      • specific meal allowances;
      • other private expenses (e.g. taxi, tolls, parking); or
      • costs associated with driving your private car where this has been authorised.

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Looking after yourself and others

Meal breaks

You will become fatigued very quickly if you don’t take time out to rest and recharge. Where you work more than five hours in any day you are required to take a minimum 30 minute unpaid meal break between the third and sixth hours of duty.

Key safety tips

      • Pay attention to the wellbeing and workplace health and safety messages in your briefings.
      • Follow all health and safety instructions that are given.
      • Ensure you use any personal protective equipment you are issued with.
      • Seek appropriate first aid or medical treatment where necessary.

Insect bites

Mosquitoes, midges, sand flies and black flies typically breed in the days following floods. Mosquitoes in particular may carry Ross River, Dengue and Barmah Forest viruses, which can cause illness characterised by fever, rash and joint pain. Insect bites may also result in irritation and sores that can become infected.

To protect against these risks:

      • Always wear appropriate clothing when you are in the disaster area and apply an insect repellent that contains DEET – during the day and the evening
      • Take steps to ensure your sleeping area is mosquito free, e.g. use insecticide spray or other available measures, e.g. screens, mosquito nets
      • Seek first aid assistance and advice for insect bites or if you become unwell.

Information on the Zika virus and other mosquito borne illnesses can be found on the Department of Health website.

Hazard reporting

      • Stay aware of your surroundings and any potential environmental hazards.
      • Report any hazards/potential hazards you identify while on Community Recovery to your team leader/manager immediately.
      • Complete a Hazard Report Form and submit this to your Team Leader, as soon as convenient.

Incident and injury reporting

Involved in an incident and/or suffer an injury or illness during your period of deployment?

Report the incident/injury/illness to your Team Leader immediately using the Workplace Injury, Illness and Incident Report Form (WIRF).

10 Hour continuous break

      • Alert your Team Leader if, based on your rostered finish/start work times, you will not have a minimum 10 hour continuous break between when you finish work and when you are scheduled to start the next day.
      • Where this is the case your Team Leader should instruct you not to report for duty the following day until you have had 10 consecutive hours off duty.
      • You will not lose pay for ordinary working time during this absence.
      • You must record on your daily Community Recovery Timesheet whether you had a minimum 10 hour continuous break prior to starting work each day.

Employee Assistance Service

Confidential counselling is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by contacting your home agency employee assistance provider.

Counsellors will be deployed to Community Recovery locations, as required, to provide face-to-face support for staff working in the Community Recovery operation.

You are encouraged to let your Team Leader know if you need assistance in accessing EAS support while you are on deployment.

Once you have returned from deployment, you are encouraged to contact your own departmental employee assistance service if you require support. Your agency key contact can assist with relevant contact details.

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Critical Incident Leave

Previously referred to as "Fatigue Leave".

To help workers recuperate, the DCDSS’ standard deployment period for Ready Reserve members includes a break of two days for each and every continuous period of five days working in Community Recovery, up to a limit of four days in a continuous work cycle.

Critical Incident leave is provided in accordance with Directive 1/16 Special Leave.

      • This two day break is automatically factored into every Ready Reserve member’s deployment period.
      • This time to recuperate is inclusive of weekends and public holidays.
      • You cannot hold Critical Incident leave days over for use at a later date.
      • Ready Reserves from the DCDSS the day you travel home at the conclusion of your deployment is not part of your Critical Incident (Special Leave), regardless of the time you arrive at your home residence.
      • Ready Reserves from the DCDSS should apply for Critical Incident (Special Leave) at the end of each deployment period.
      • Each agency is responsible for establishing formal leave arrangements within their own department.
      • Ready Reserves from other agencies will be provided with instructions on how to apply for Critical Incident leave by your agency’s Ready Reserve key contact.

Critical Incident (Special Leave) taken in the disaster area

The preferred option is for Ready Reserves to return home at the end of their 5 day deployment. However, some Ready Reserves will be deployed for a back-to-back rotation – by prior arrangement.

Where this is the case, it is important that you take your two days Critical Incident Leave in a location that allows you to rest and provides access to social and productive activities.

If you stay in the disaster area for these 2 days there is a concern that even though you are not working you are still exposed to the disaster - you may be liaising and socialising with staff who are still working, have visibility of the happenings in the disaster area and are still engaging with locals affected by the event.

Even though you are not working, you are experiencing the event, but more vicariously.

Ready Reserves who do not return home for leave are entitled to claim allowances for meals and incidentals.

Examples of Critical Incident Leave

      1. You travel to your Community Recovery work location on Monday, you work for 5 continuous days in Community Recovery from Tuesday to Saturday, and then travel home on Sunday.

        You take Monday and Tuesday off as your 2 days Critical Incident (Special Leave). You complete a leave application for these two days when you return to your normal job on Wednesday.

      2. You travel to your Community Recovery work location on Friday and work in Community Recovery for 5 continuous days from Saturday to Wednesday, and then travel home on Thursday.

        You take Friday and Saturday as your 2 days to recuperate. When you return to your normal job on Monday you complete a Critical Incident (Special Leave) application for the Friday.

      3. You are locally based and do not need to travel any considerable distance to or from home. You work in Community Recovery from Monday to Friday (5 days).

        Saturday and Sunday are your 2 days to recuperate from deployment. You do not need to complete a leave application for Critical Incident (Special Leave) unless Saturday and Sunday are your normal work days. You return to work in your normal job on Monday.

      4. You drive to the Community Recovery Centre on Tuesday morning, work Tuesday afternoon, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday morning and drive home Saturday afternoon – a total of 5 continuous days deployed for Community Recovery.

        You take Sunday and Monday as your 2 days to recuperate. When you return to work on Tuesday you complete a Critical Incident (Special Leave) leave application for your absence on Monday.

      5. You work in your normal job from Monday to Friday and are asked to work in the local Community Recovery operation on Saturday.

        Because you have not undertaken 5 continuous days working in Community Recovery you are not eligible for Critical Incident (Special Leave).

      6. You are deployed from Cairns to the South West Region and are immediately deploying for a 2nd rotation (back-to-back).

        You discuss and agree with the Deployment Coordinator at the time of your initial deployment, to organise that you take your 2 days Critical Incident Leave in Brisbane

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How you will be paid

You will be paid for your time working in Community Recovery, including any overtime entitlements, through your normal departmental payroll system per Critical Incident Directive 06/16.

You must:

      • Complete the Community Recovery Timesheet to fully and accurately record your actual hours of duty, and any absences, on a daily basis
      • If the timesheet is incomplete you will be contacted to provide this information
      • Write legibly! If there are too many corrections you will be contacted to provide a clean timesheet for payroll processing
      • Record time in 15 minute intervals
      • Include your USUAL travel time home to work
      • Include your Employment Status
      • Show your correct Payroll Department
      • Provide your Payroll Number and Salary Class
      • Sign the Community Recovery Timesheet, take a photo/copy and leave the original.
      • Complete your normal departmental timesheet for the period of your Community Recovery deployment.

Failure to comply with these requirements may delay the processing of your CR Timesheet.

      • Community Recovery Timesheets are legal records.
      • All overtime is paid directly from the recordings on your signed Community Recovery Timesheet. No other claim form is required.
      • Ready Reserve members up to level AO8.4 (or equivalent will be paid overtime.
      • Full-time and part-time staff should receive any overtime entitlements within four to six weeks of deployment.
      • Casual staff should receive payment three to four weeks after deployment.
      • Part-time employees who work the days that they are normally off duty will be paid as if they were a full-time employee working a standard week. You must correctly record your employment status on your CR Timesheet.

Critical Incident (Community Recovery) TOIL

Community Recovery workers from the DCDSS who want to be credited with TOIL for additional hours worked in Community Recovery, rather than be paid overtime, must advise the Community Recovery Branch in writing immediately at the end of their deployment period:

Ready Reserves from other government departments should contact their agency key contact if they wish to make this election.

Team leaders must sign each day

Your Community Recovery timesheet will be kept in a sign-in folder at the Community Recovery location you are assigned to.

Each day your Team Leader will check and sign off on the hours you have worked. They will also consider if you have had a minimum 10 hour break between shifts.

If you change work locations during your deployment period, take your Community Recovery Timesheet with you and give it to your new Team Leader.

Completing your Community Recovery timesheet

When completing your CR timesheet refer to the instructions.

Make sure your CR timesheet is legible and all required fields are completed.

Before leaving the disaster area take a copy of your completed CR timesheet.

Leave the signed original in the disaster area.

The coordination centre will batch the original signed CR timesheets to Brisbane for processing.

CR timesheets for DCDSS Ready Reserves will be scanned to QSS payroll for payment.

CR timesheets for Ready Reserves from other government departments will be scanned to each agency’s nominated contact officer who will then provide it to your payroll area.

Completing your normal departmental/agency timesheet

You must complete your normal departmental timesheet when you return to your normal workplace after Community Recovery deployment.

Record your ordinary hours for each day you worked in Community Recovery.

Complete any other leave forms as directed by your agency key contact.

Other leave and public holidays

If any other leave is taken while you are on Community Recovery deployment, e.g. sick leave, you should formally apply for this leave when you return home using your normal departmental leave processes.

If your deployment falls on a public holiday you will be paid relevant public holiday rates for hours worked.

Flex time/Overtime/TOIL

Community Recovery workers DO NOT accrue flex hours.

      • While the Critical Incident Directive is in effect, staff up to level AO8.4 (or equivalent) will be paid overtime, or can elect to receive a TOIL credit, for any additional hours worked in excess of their ordinary hours.
      • Overtime is payable for all work done before 6am or after 6pm.

Excess travel time

Employees who are required to travel for Community Recovery, away from their normal headquarters and outside the ordinary spread of hours (i.e. before 6am or after 6pm Monday to Friday, Saturday, Sunday or public holiday), and would ordinarily be compensated for excess travel time, will receive an additional payment made at their usual hourly rate at the time the excess travel occurred.

Excess travel time is calculated to the nearest quarter hour. No compensation is payable where excess travel is less than 15 minutes, or more than 8 hours in any one calendar day.

Excess travel time is calculated as the difference between the time usually taken to travel between your home and your usual workplace (home base) and the time it takes to travel from your home to your assigned Community Recovery work location. This calculation occurs regardless of whether travel is undertaken on a day you would not normally be working – Directive No.02/18 Hours, Overtime and Excess Travel.

Overtime Meal Allowance

Staff who work a certain amount of overtime doing Community Recovery work, but do not leave their usual place of work, may be eligible to receive an Overtime Meal Allowance[3].

Eligible staff should complete the Community Recovery Usual Workplace Overtime Meal Allowance Claim form and submit it with their completed Community Recovery Timesheet. Your timesheet recordings will be used to verify your claim.

4 Directive No. 02/18 Hours, Overtime and Excess Travel

Use of private mobile phone

Use of a privately owned mobile phone is acceptable for work related purposes.

You must provide an itemised phone account that clearly identifies the work-related calls you made. Attach this to a completed Expenditure Voucher using the disaster cost centre advised by your agency key contact.

Use of private motor vehicle

In accordance with the Motor Vehicle Allowances Directive 20/16, wherever possible Ready Reserves must use DCDSS funded transport options, e.g. government vehicles, train, bus, to travel to/from your deployment location.

You should only drive your private car if there are no other reasonable options available.

Your Deployment Coordinator will discuss your transport requirements when they contact you for deployment.

Payroll queries

Department of Communities, Disability Services and Seniors: email QSS directly at Include DCDSS, your name, payroll number and topic of enquiry in the subject line. QSS will aim to provide routine employee and payroll advice within two days of request.

Other government agencies: Email your agency’s nominated contact.

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Community Recovery briefings and debriefings

Orientation briefing (on arrival)

You will receive information on:

      • Local community and disaster impacts
      • Service Delivery Model
      • Management Structure
      • Code of Conduct
      • Workplace health and safety requirements
      • Timesheet and expense claim procedures

Daily shift briefing

Managers/Team Leaders will brief you before you start work each day and cover such issues as:

      • Overview of the current operations
      • Confirm escalation points for any key issues
      • Highlight emerging issues you need to be aware of
      • Confirm daily reporting requirements

Confirm with your Team Leader when and where your daily shift briefing and debriefing will occur.

Daily shift debriefing (end of shift each day)

The daily shift debrief allows you to:

      • debrief on your experiences that day
      • discuss and resolve any challenges or issues encountered
      • suggest improvements moving forward

Pre-exit admin and HR debrief

At this debrief on your last day of deployment you will:

      • Finalise your CR Timesheet
      • Check your Allowance and Expense claim forms are completed correctly.

Team Leader/Manager - Handover briefing

All Team Leaders/Managers must provide a handover:

      • daily activities and reporting arrangements
      • escalation points for key issues
      • overview of current operations and processes
      • identify any key or emerging issues
      • confirm staffing arrangements

Exit debrief

At the end of each rotational deployment period the Regional Event Coordinator, or their delegate, will lead a staff exit debrief session. The objective of this debrief is to improve future Community Recovery operations by identifying good practice and areas for improvement.

Staff will also receive a short, on-line survey by email when they return home to provide feedback on their deployment experience.

Psychological debriefing (post exit)

Confidential counselling is available 24hours a day, 7 days/week by calling your normal departmental employee assistance provider. A psychological debriefing after you return from deployment gives you an opportunity to reflect on and discuss your recovery experience.

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Got a question?

Travel and accommodation

DCDSS Community Recovery Branch Deployment Team on 0432 751 535, or the local contact in the disaster affected region as advised at your orientation briefing.


DCDSS staff

Email your query to DCDSS_HR advice at

Staff from other agencies

Mail your query to your nominated agency contact.

Payment (salary)

DCDSS staff

Email with the subject "DCDSS, Your Name; Employee/Payroll Number; Topic of Enquiry".

QSS will provide routine employee and payroll advice within 2 days.

Staff from other agencies

Email your nominated agency contact.

Allowances or Private Expense Claims

Email your query to

Workplace health and safety (WHS)

DCDSS Safety Wellbeing and Injury Management (SWIM) Unit, Human Resources and Ethical Standards (supporting Community Recovery)

SWIM Unit: 3247 3726 3247 3765

General queries – email

Confidential counselling

Contact your normal departmental employee assistance (24hrs a day, 7 days/week) provider or your departmental Ready Reserve key contact if you do not know the number. DCDSS – Benestar – 1300 360 364.

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