The Andrews Labor is boosting the state’s emergency response capability, with 20 additional jobs created for the Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority (ESTA) to help to keep Victorians safe in emergencies, focusing predominately on police calls.
Minister for Police and Emergency Services Lisa Neville made the announcement at Victoria Police headquarters in Docklands today and thanked ESTA staff for their tireless efforts in keeping the community safe.
ESTA’s Triple Zero operators work 24 hours a day, every day of the year. In 2018-19, ESTA answered more than 2.6 million calls for assistance across Victoria, an average of almost 7000 calls each day or a call every 12 seconds.
Victoria’s emergency communications agency receives emergency calls for the CFA, MFB, Victoria Police, Ambulance Victoria and Victoria State Emergency Service (VICSES), with the 20 new jobs to predominantly focus on Victoria Police call-taking and dispatch needs.
Demand for police calls has risen by almost 6 per cent over four years, from 1,296,049 in 2014-15 to 1,369,893 in 2018-19. Police calls represent over 50 per cent of total ESTA calls.
This new investment is aimed at addressing this continuing increase in demand, while also providing existing workers with greater access to existing professional development opportunities and Occupational Health and Safety programs.
A recent Beyond Blue study – ‘Answering the call’ – found that for emergency workers, rates of reported mental health conditions are significantly higher than in the general population.
This commitment reflects the Labor Government’s recognition of the importance of our emergency call takers and the pressures they face ensuring vital services are dispatched to those in need.
ESTA staff, alongside all emergency service workers, already have access to urgent mental health treatment the moment they need it, following the commencement of the provisional acceptance payments scheme earlier this year.
This announcement builds on recent investments to ESTA’s communication network and the emergency services communications network more broadly by the government, with more than $50 million invested.
ESTA is expected to recruit the additional 20 Full Time Equivalent roles by February 2020.
As stated by Minister for Police and Emergency Services Lisa Neville
“Day in day out ESTA stands ready to help our fellow Victorians in times of crisis and these new workers will continue to make us proud of their life-saving work.”
“ESTA call takers do an incredible job and receive more than 2.6 million emergency calls through the Triple Zero service every year. This is about helping them become even more efficient.”
“We’re giving our emergency services the tools and resources they need to get the job done and keep our communities safe.”