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Final ACA report into 000 delays.



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MINISTER FOR COMMUNICATIONS INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY AND THE ARTS THE HON DARYL WILLIAMS AM QC MP

NEWS RELEASE

11 March 2004 24/04

FINAL ACA REPORT INTO 000 DELAYS

The Australian Communications Authority (ACA) has found there were no systematic problems underlying delays on the 000 emergency call line in December last year.

However, the ACA has outlined 10 recommendations to improve the operation of the emergency call process.

I asked the ACA to investigate the 000 service after reported delays in accessing the service during severe rain storms in Melbourne and a house fire in Gilmore in the Australian Capital Territory on 3 December 2003. I have now received the final report and made it public.

The ACA found that there were no systemic problems with the handling of emergency calls by Telstra and that the emergency call service arrangements are functioning well but identified measures to improve the operation of the service.

Two recommendations that have already been implemented are:

• the provision of a Telstra 000 recorded voice announcement that is automatically activated after 30 seconds if there are delays in answering 000 calls; and

• a Telstra 000 recorded voice announcement that informs the caller that they have dialled emergency 000 and that their call is being connected.

Other recommendations in the report are being progressed by Telstra and the ACA.

The report highlighted that a large number of calls on 3 December 2003 did not concern life-threatening nor time-critical situations and should have been made to a State Emergency Services (SES) number instead of 000.

The ACA has therefore recommended that the SES consider the establishment of a national SES number. The Government will raise this recommendation with the relevant State and Territory authorities with responsibility for SES.

The ACA will continue to monitor the performance of the emergency call service.

The report is available from the 'Publications' link on the 'Telecommunications' home page at www.dcita.gov.au

Media Contact: Carina Tan-Van Baren (02) 6277 7480/ 0439 425 373