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Monday, 12 November 1973
Page: 3170

Mr Hamer asked the Postmaster-General, upon notice:

(1)   Is it possible to dial 000 for Emergency Services in the Chelsea (Melbourne) telephone district.

(2)   Are coins needed to call local emergency services from a public telephone box in the Chelsea telephone district.

(3)   Are the existing arrangements satisfactory.

(4)   What would be the cost of modifying the system so that 000 could be dialled from the Chelsea telephone district.

Mr Lionel Bowen (KINGSFORD-SMITH, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   Not at this time; however the 000 service will be extended to Chelsea and the remainder of the extended local service area of Melbourne, shortly. Appropriate publicity arrangements are in hand and the honourable members concerned will be advised prior to the introduction.

(2)   In normal circumstances, the caller requires coins to enable him to dial the Police, Fire and Ambulance emergency numbers himself. However, if no coins are available at the time, service can be obtained by calling a Departmental operator on the number indicated on the public telephone notice. Coins will not be required for emergency calls made through the 000 service when it is introduced.

(3)   In the absence of the 000 service the existing arrangements are the only ones practicable and are common to other areas similarly situated. The 000 service operates at present in all capital cities in Australia, in Canberra, and in a large number of country centres. The Department's aim is to extend the service ultimately to all centres but before this can be done, the technical arrangements must be satisfactory and negotiations must be carried out with the public authorities concerned to determine whether they are prepared to participate in the scheme. If they are willing to take part it is also necessary to ensure that the procedures for handling emergency calls fit in with their local arrangements. Conditions in the

ELSA area of Melbourne have only recently reached the stage where the introduction of the service is feasible.

(4)   The estimated cost of the technical arrangements is $4,000.

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