Kostas Trikilis has been in government for 16 years and is the City Activations Manager with Activate Darwin.
When COVID-19 struck, the ban on public gatherings put his normal role on hold, and his team was redirected to manage government's newly established Coronavirus Travel Hotline and Approved Remote Essential Worker (AREW) applications for people working in remote communities.
"My role initially was to get the AREW application process up and running," Kostas explained.
"The whole process was established on the fly, with the goal posts continually changing—sometimes every half an hour."
Kostas said the application setup started as a manual process, with the team issuing application certificates without a photo.
They soon realised data was being double handled and progress needed to be faster, so they moved through using several government databases to improve the application process's efficiency.
"We processed 1,700 AREW applications manually before we established an online application form to create a more efficient, automated system," he said.
"That resulted in a 24-hour turnaround for some applications."
Kostas said the COVID-19 response has taught him that everyone is on the same team.
"Everyone in a crisis came in to help as one," he said.
"We are all together – we work for one government.
"Everyone from AO2 to SAOs worked together. Nothing was too small or big for anyone to do; the collaboration between everyone was unreal.
"It also reinforced that public servants don’t finish work at 4:21. We work weekends, long hours, we log on at home again at night to provide the service the community needs. And during COVID, everyone was more than happy to do it."
Kostas said Territorians deserve recognition for their response to the pandemic too.
"People took the advice seriously. Even though we didn't have many cases or community spread, people still complied. It was impressive."
Last updated: 25 June 2020
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