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Australia: business as usual over the Year 2000

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Media Release



Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts 

Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate




‘Australia should plan for business as usual over the Year 2000 period, with little or no Y2K disruption to key services, including electricity, telecommunications, banking and transport,’ the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator Richard Alston, said today.


In a special Ministerial Statement to Parliament, Senator Alston said that Australia is one of the best-prepared countries in the world for the Millennium Bug — also known as the Year 2000 or Y2K issue.


‘Federal, State and Territory Governments, businesses and individuals have worked hard to minimise potential Y2K problems, which may be caused by the failure of some computers to accept the year 2000 as a valid date,’ Senator Alston said.


‘Australia’s preparations are acknowledged internationally. The BBC has told its audience that Australia is the best place to be to avoid potential Year 2000 disruptions.


‘Our preparations are so comprehensive that the relevant Federal, State and Territory Ministers believe that there is no need for ordinary Australians to make any special preparations for Y2K.


‘Australians should instead prepare in the normal way for the conditions prevailing in their local area in the December/January period — for example. communities in cyclone or bushfire-prone areas are urged to take the usual preparations appropriate for that time of year.’


Senator Alston’ s statement included the release of the latest Commonwealth Quarterly report, showing the progress towards Year 2000 compliance of Commonwealth Departments, agencies and business entities.


‘Ninety seven percent of the 3,500 business-critical Commonwealth systems have now been fixed (back online/compliant) — a tremendous achievement,’ Senator Alston said.


‘Of these systems, 88% are fully compliant. Another 9% have been fixed and moved back into service, awaiting formal completion of the process by the agencies concerned before they can be formally regarded as compliant.


‘Of the remainder, only about 21 actual systems are expected to be non-compliant by the end of this month. The majority of these systems do not have a role in key service delivery.


‘Ministers will receive reports on these 21 systems until work is complete. Half of the outstanding systems are in Commonwealth-occupied but not Commonwealth-owned buildings. and are the responsibility of the building owner.


Senator Alston said that a key factor in Australia’s successful preparation for the Millennium Bug was the level of public disclosure by governments and businesses — particularly in the vital infrastructure sectors.


Substantial information is now publicly available concerning the Year 2000 preparations of the energy, fuel, telecommunications, banking and transport sectors in Australia. This information is available from the website .


A community information brochure ‘You and the Millennium Bug’ has been produced by the Federal Government in consultation with States, Territories and industry and will be released shortly.


Copies of Senator Alston’s statement, together with supporting information, can be found at

Media Contact: Terry O’Connor, Minister’s office 02 6277 7480 Website



22 September 1999


rw  1999-09-24  11:41