Senator the Hon Stephen Conroy
Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy
Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Digital Productivity
Inquiry to learn lessons from Warrnambool exchange fire
Minister for Broadband, Communications, and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, today announced an inquiry will be held to identify what lessons can be learnt from the Warrnambool Telstra exchange fire that left more than 60,000 residents without fixed line telecommunications services.
“I understand the frustration felt by the people and businesses that have been left without a phone and other services,” Senator Conroy said.
“Telstra has reconnected 35,000 homes and businesses and restored all mobile phone coverage to the area. They are continuing to work hard to reconnect the remaining services.
“A fire of this type is infrequent, but given how important telecommunications infrastructure is for the day-to-day lives of all Australians, an inquiry is appropriate.”
The inquiry will be conducted by the Department of Broadband, Communications, and the Digital Economy. The inquiry will:
- Receive information from Telstra on the fire in the Warrnambool exchange, including the cause, the extent of the damage, and what services were affected.
- Receive a report on the fire prevention and mitigation strategies in place and consult on the effectiveness of these strategies.
- Report on the process of restoring services affected by this fire, including interim services that were provided.
- Hold a public forum on the impact of this event on the community.
- Report on the effectiveness of disaster recovery and service continuity planning for telecommunications infrastructure; and whether businesses that might be affected by such events also have appropriate continuity plans.
“I want to hear the views of the affected communities and relevant experts to ensure that disaster mitigation and service recovery plans are as effective as possible if similar events were to occur in the future.”
Date: 28 November 2012
Contact: Adam Sims 0408 258 457