Wednesday, 11 May 2016 10:39

ACCAN rue delay in introducing SMS capability for Triple 000 services


The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) wants SMS text capability for triple 000 calls implemented but has expressed concern that its recommendations for the change to the emergency call service have still not been implemented.

ACCAN was commenting on the Department of Communications and the Arts release last week of its Triple Zero implementation plan, and its own submission and recommendations to a review back in 2014 of the emergency call service.

In its submission to the review, the ACCAN recommended the implementation of the SMS capability for triple 000 calls, as well as:

•    A recommendation for the implementation of mobile application capability for triple zero calls, and

•    A recommendation that further public consultation be undertaken before information other than location information is required when making triple zero calls.

The ACCAN says it is disappointed that the Triple Zero (000) Review report does not recommend a move to provide all Australians with “anytime, anywhere, any device access to 000 emergency calls”.

“Introducing SMS 000 services would benefit consumers who are unable to make a voice call, such as consumers who are Deaf or hard of hearing or consumers who have a speech impairment.

“SMS 000 services would also be useful to consumers who are in dangerous situations when it is unsafe to make a voice call, for example a domestic violence or hostage situations.”

On a more positive note, the ACCAN notes that the Triple 000 report states that there is “merit to exploring non-verbal contact methods of contacting Triple Zero emergency services”.

“ACCAN looks forward to working with the States and Territories and emergency service organisations in developing new contact methods, particularly for SMS 000.”

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - an iTWire treasure is a mentor and coach who volunteers also a writer and much valued founding partner of iTWire. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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