Media Release by The Hon John Cobb MP

Australian Government to establish National Emergency Call Centre

Australians seeking information after a major disaster or emergency will soon have immediate access to support information, through a national emergency toll free phone number.

The Minister for Community Services, John Cobb, today said the Australian Government would commit $13.9 million over four years to establish a National Emergency Call Centre (NECC) capability, which can be operational with one hour’s notice.

‘The NECC will provide the public with information, as well as receive and respond to information in the event of an emergency,’ Mr Cobb said.

‘The toll free number will be the central point of contact for those seeking information on a range of response and recovery matters following a disaster of significance.

‘This includes information on financial assistance, counselling, health and medical issues, general welfare concerns, self-help advice and referrals to other government services.

‘Trained officers can provide up to date information about the emergency event and receive information from callers, either in relation to the incident or to assist in the location of loved ones and others likely to be affected and the provision of support to them.

‘The NECC is being introduced to enhance the Government’s capability to respond and will have the capacity to process large volumes of information and calls from the public.

‘The call centre will have a secure system of databases for information exchange, including details about missing persons, injured or deceased, assisting decisive action and decision making by relevant authorities.

‘While current call centre capabilities have proven adequate to deal with emergencies to date, the NECC capability is designed to further improve the provision of support and assistance to Australians in times of need,’ Mr Cobb said.