There are fears a Federal Government decision to call for tenders to take over management of the triple zero service from Telstra could lead to calls being answered overseas.
This week the government called for Expressions of Interest for an operator of the Triple Zero service following a review of services.
The government is looking for an operator who can implement an IP-based service that can “keep pace with the rapidly changing social and technological environment” according to iTWire.
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Communications Minister Mitch Fifield said Australians’ expectations regarding emergency assistance have changed since Triple Zero was introduced as a voice-only service in 1961, when fixed-line telephones were the primary means of communication.
He said the move to update the service is an “important step in ensuring Triple Zero remains a highly-trusted and reliable service for all Australians when they need to request emergency assistance”.
But the Communications Union has called for a guarantee that calls to the emergency number will continue to be answered within Australia.
According to iTWire the union’s national president Shane Murphy has questioned the ongoing reliability of the service if a tender for a “lower cost” service is considered.
“Is this simply about finding cost savings at the expense of a skilled and qualified workforce providing an efficient essential service?
“We simply can’t afford to risk undermining the reliability of the Triple Zero phone service which fields more than eight million emergency calls per year and up to 30,000 calls per day.”