Regrettably, recent reports suggest that there are deadly delays occurring with Victoria’s critically important 000 service. Despite having 18 months of warning and time in which to act, the Andrews government has failed to bolster this vital service to ensure it could do its job when Victorians so badly need it to.
The 000 number is the first point of call for every Victorian in urgent need, so it is essential that it is there and able to take their call for help when needed, regardless of what special circumstances exist elsewhere.
With reports of Victorians being put on hold for as long as 5 minutes and more, it is apparent that there is a critical issue that must be addressed immediately. Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority workers are being overwhelmed by the number of phone calls and are under immense pressure to keep up with a demand that appears to be greater than their workforce.
In an emergency, every second counts. If Victorians are left on hold with 000 during an emergency, the consequences could be dire. Whilst it is tragically too late for some, the Andrews government must bolster this system now, before the on-hold delays cause loss of life for more Victorians.
It is a very straightforward situation. If there are insufficient people or technological resources available to a mission- and time-critical service such as 000 to respond to an emergency, which had been forecast for more than 18 months, then this service is clearly under-resourced.
Where a service as critical as Victoria’s 000 is unable to cope with a predictable surge of need, then it is likely to involve negligence at the very least, and a royal commission should be set up to investigate what went wrong and who was responsible. If we do not get to the bottom of what caused this unacceptable situation, it is likely to be repeated.