Triple Zero service to zoom in on change

by John J. Williams

Victoria’s Triple Zero service (000) is to be transformed into Emergency Services Telecommunication Authority (ESTA) capacity and capability after evaluation to deliver consistent Triple Zero services (000).

In his ESTA Capability and Service Review report, Graham Ashton, former Victoria Police Commissioner, said ESTA put people in need of immediate emergency assistance in touch with state emergency services (ESOs).

Ashton said the ESOs were Ambulance Victoria, the Country Fire Authority, Fire Rescue Victoria, Victoria Police, and the Victoria State Emergency Service.Triple Zero service to zoom in on change

“The original intent of the legislation that created ESTA envisioned that ESTA and ESOs would operate in a partnership model to provide emergency communications services,” said Mr. Ashton.

“This original intention was never fully achieved,” he said.

“Numerous reasons have been identified during consultations that may indicate why, ranging from ESTA’s governance structure to the industry’s competing priorities, to the funding model that underpins the relationship between ESTA and ESOs.”

Mr. Ashton said the lack of a partnership model alone does not fully explain or justify the “persistent and systematic underperformance of an agency tasked with connecting the Victorian community to critical services in times of need”.

He said that ESTA and the ESOs should have clearly defined roles and responsibilities that are meaningful and measurable.

To achieve this, Mr. Ashton made 20 recommendations, all of which the State has supported in principle.

Jaclyn Symes, who announced the government’s response to the assessment report, said Emergency Services Minister action on five of Mr. Ashton’s recommendations was already underway, and work on the remaining 15 would begin immediately.

Ms. Symes said the immediate priority would be to focus on recommendations related to call-taking and sending managed services and technology services, and intelligence capability.

She said major governance changes and reforms related to performance standards are expected to follow in 2023.

“As part of major structural reforms designed to ensure that ESTA continues to improve and deliver a stronger service to all Victorians, ESTA will be supported by a new board of advisors, including members of the ambulance, police, emergency, and fire department,” Mrs. Symes said.

“Importantly, this new governance model will strengthen the partnership between ESTA and the state’s key ESOs,” she said.

“ESTA will be brought into government in the form and structure to be agreed upon as part of the reforms to be implemented by 2023.”

Ms. Symes said the move would allow ESTA to focus on its primary goal of stronger, faster phone calls and dispatch.

The minister said the Agency would also undergo a major rebrand – Triple Zero Victoria – to reflect better its core function of receiving and transmitting calls.

Ashton’s 80-page review report can be accessed at this PS News link, and the state’s 12-page response at this link.

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