University report into Telstra exchange fire complete

The damage inside the exchange building after the disaterous fire which crippled communications across the region.

The damage inside the exchange building after the disaterous fire which crippled communications across the region.

AN in-depth report by RMIT University into the disastrous Warrnambool Telstra exchange fire two years ago will be tabled in Federal Parliament.

The report was officially presented yesterday to Wannon MP Dan Tehan and Telstra’s regional manager Bill Mundy in Hamilton where the university’s team conducted its research.

Mr Tehan promised to take the document to Canberra and table it during the next sitting later this month.

About 600 people across south-west Victoria were interviewed to ascertain the social and economic consequences of the November 22, 2012, fire which cut telecommunications for up to three weeks.

The RMIT report said about 100,000 customers were affected and the region lost about $1 million a day in revenue.

It called for better preparation for disasters which could cut telecommunications and warned there was no guarantee similar widespread outages would not happen again in the Telstra network or NBN.

Mr Tehan said yesterday  the exchange fire had national and international implications.

“It is important that other communities don’t suffer what our region went through,” he said.

“The telecommunications industry has been put on notice the recommendations need to be followed through.

“This report is a very important piece of work because it details plans that government, business and individuals should put in place to prevent the dislocation that took place following the Warrnambool exchange fire 

“... from what I’ve seen important changes have been put into place,” Mr Tehan said.

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