CANBERRA, AAP – Telstra and other telcos have come under heavy fire from the federal government for failing to release crucial data to emergency services.
Emergency services are seeking information about telecommunications utilities to help save lives during natural disasters including bushfires, cyclones or floods.
Fire and rescue workers will use the information to make strategic decisions to keep communications alive during a disaster.
Emergency Management Minister David Littleproud singled out Telstra’s chief executive after the company failed to honour an agreement made in October 2019.
“I am disgusted that Andy Penn has not made good on Telstra’s commitments even after a personal conversation with him that he would not put Telstra’s commercial interests ahead of the safety of Australians.”
Mr Littleproud declared the time for talk was over as he ramped up the pressure for Telstra, Optus, NBN and Vodafone to sit down with emergency services.
“This is about people, not profits,” he told reporters in Canberra on Wednesday.
“This is about making sure that our emergency personnel have the resources and require to protect us and themselves.”
He promised the government and emergency bodies would not share commercially sensitive information.
“Telstra, along with Optus, NBN and Vodafone owe it to our emergency services workers as well as to the broader community whose lives they are endangering to provide this critical data,” Mr Littleproud said.