Mr130-10: No Moves To Change Emergency Call Numbers

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20th October 2010, 06:42pm - Views: 1782

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20 October 2010

No moves to change emergency call numbers

The Australian Communications and Media Authority has no intention of changing

Australia’s primary emergency call number from Triple Zero. 

Speaking at a Senate Estimates hearing in Canberra yesterday, ACMA Chairman

Chris Chapman said, ‘The number Triple Zero is Australia’s primary emergency

service number and should always be used in the first instance. 

‘The number 112 is the GSM international standard emergency number, which can

only be dialled on a digital mobile phone. It is accepted as a secondary international

emergency number in some parts of the world, including Australia, and can be

dialled in areas of GSM network coverage with the call automatically translated to

that country’s emergency number. Importantly, 112 cannot be used to access the

emergency call service from fixed lines in Australia.’

Triple Zero has been Australia’s primary emergency service number since 1961. It

ensures that all Australians can dial one free number to access fire, ambulance and

police services in time-critical emergency situations. There is a high level of

awareness of the Triple Zero emergency service number, with recent research

commissioned by the ACMA indicating that almost 95 per cent of Australians are

aware that they should call Triple Zero in an emergency.

112 offers no benefits (such as quicker access to the emergency call service) over

Triple Zero.

The ACMA has responsibility for the designation of the emergency call number

through the Australian Numbering Plan. 

‘Recent reports that the number could be changed are incorrect and irresponsible.

The Australian community can be assured that Triple Zero is, and will remain, the

number to call in a time-critical emergency situation,’ said Mr Chapman.

Every year, the operator of the Triple Zero service receives many calls which are

non-life threatening or non-time critical, such as from misdials, automatically

generated calls from incorrectly programmed fax machines or modems, callers

reporting matters that are not emergencies, and hoax and malicious calls.

The ACMA has been working with industry and emergency service organisations

over the past two to three years to reduce the number of non-emergency calls made

to Triple Zero, without compromising genuine emergency calls. 

‘There has been a number of measures introduced over the last several years, and

they have included brief introductory recorded voice announcements alerting callers

that they have contacted 000 and other related aspects,’ Mr Chapman said.

Since December 2008 this has led to a 29 per cent reduction in the total number of

non-life threatening calls (that is, calls that were not passed to an emergency

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ACMA Media Release

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service organisation). In 2009-10, there were 3.5 million of these types of calls (1.8

million from mobile phones) down from 4.9 million in 2008-09. 

The total number of calls made to Triple Zero in 2009-10 was 8.8 million, a

decrease of 1.5 million from the previous year. 

For more information, go to Information about the ACMA’s

role in regulating and monitoring the emergency call services is on the ACMA

For more information or to arrange an interview please contact: Donald

Robertson, Media Manager, on (02) 9334 7980, 0418 86 1766 or

The ACMA is Australia’s regulator for broadcasting, the internet, radiocommunications and

telecommunications. The ACMA’s strategic intent is to make communications and media work in

Australia’s public interest. For more information: 

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