News : Triple-0 Call Centre Roster Change ‘Won't Delay' Response Times
Victoria, Australia, August 12, 2014 -- Victorian Premier Denis Napthine has defended changes to staffing levels at the triple-0 call centre, saying they will not affect emergency response times.
The Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority (ESTA) is experimenting with a new roster which reduces the number of call-takers for police and fire emergencies.
The two-month trial is running until September and is aimed at tackling the authority's large over-time bill, which has been caused by high levels of absenteeism.
ETSA's chief operating officer Julia Oxley said they are trying to avoid calling in staff who are already working long shifts.
"Community safety really is our first priority and we are not comprising safety by the trial," she said.
Dr Napthine has told Fairfax Radio that safety and emergency response times have not been jeopardised.
"What they're saying is they will only do that in circumstances when the call-taking pattern allows it," he said.
"They also say it's been operating now since mid-July with absolutely no reductions in service, no delays in calls being dealt with, no delays in calls being passed on to the appropriate agencies for response."
But Victorian Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews said the Government's plans to reduce staffing levels at the triple-0 emergency call centre did not make sense.
"This doesn't pass the common sense test," Mr Andrews said.
"Cutting staff and cutting funding out of the triple-0 call centre makes no sense whatsoever.
"It does nothing to make people safer, but again, as usual, Denis Napthine can't own up for the cuts he's made."
Ms Oxley said the staff are already working tough hours. "They work two 12-hour days and they work two 12-hour nights. It's a pretty hefty load as it is," she said.
"Our main priority is staff welfare and ensuring we run a well-oiled machine."
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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About Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority:
ESTA operates three State Emergency Communications Centres, located in the Melbourne CBD, East Burwood, and Ballarat.
Published: Wednesday, August 13, 2014
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