False Emergency Calls 000

Our Say.. Penalise the abuse - Charge "false alarms" $25 per call and the million false calls a year will suddenly disappear.

:: Age Headline :: State looks at charge to dial 000 - July 28 2003

A proposal to charge people $5 for dialling 000 in an emergency was a way to stop hoax calls, not a case of more Government revenue-raising, Premier Steve Bracks said yesterday.

"The real issue is to try to ensure that we have no hoax calls on 000," Mr Bracks said. "This is really a problem that can clog up the system. It can cause enormous expense in servicing the system."

Telstra revealed almost 70 per cent of the 10 million 000 calls last year were hoaxes, mistakes, fax machine dial-ups or cases involving no responses when the calls were answered.

That amounts to 7 million false calls a year.

Unlocked keypads on mobile phones that accidentally self-dialled were partly to blame, as were calls from schoolchildren.

Police Minister Andre Haermeyer said a $5 fee might be necessary, in line with New Zealand charges.

"It may just even be necessary to put a $5 charge on every call made to 000 so people start taking the business of locking up their telephone keypads and checking what their kids are doing when they get home in the afternoon a bit more seriously," Mr Haermeyer said.

Mr Bracks said the Government had not decided how to curtail hoaxes or inadvertent calls to the service.

Asked if the Government was looking at the charge, Mr Bracks replied: "Oh, absolutely, yes. We understand it is a big expense, but it's not the expense - it's the potential for interrupting emergency calls which are essential that is our biggest concern."

State Government spokesman Tom Laurie said the Federal Government would have to agree because it controlled Telstra.

Source: By Andrew Heasley | The Age




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