Hear­ing im­paired cut off from aid

Townsville Bulletin - - National Snapshot -

HEAR­ING im­paired peo­ple were un­able to call a spe­cial emer­gency phone ser­vice at the height of the Queens­land floods, a re­port has found.

The Na­tional Re­lay Ser­vice in Bris­bane was dis­rupted for al­most 24 hours on Jan­uary 12 as flood­wa­ters in­un­dated its main of­fice.

Dur­ing that time, some call­ers were un­able to call emer­gency ser­vices on the dis­abil­ity phone ser­vice, the re­port by the Aus­tralian Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Con­sumer Ac­tion Net­work found.

‘‘ As a re­sult there would be sig­nif­i­cant dis­rup­tions to the ser­vices pro- vided by the Na­tional Re­lay Ser­vice right across the coun­try,’’ it said.

The con­sumer group has rec­om­mended mov­ing the NRS to an area less prone to floods or other nat­u­ral disas­ter risks.

The Aus­tralian Com­mu­ni­ca­tions and Me­dia Au­thor­ity said the ser­vice’s of­fice in Bris­bane had to be evac­u­ated be­cause of con­cerns for staff safety.

Text mes­sage-based emer­gency ser­vices were not in­ter­rupted.

Still, me­dia au­thor­ity chair­man Chris Chap­man said his agency and the fed­eral Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Depart­ment were ex­am­in­ing the re­port.

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