Community members are being reminded to save calls to Triple Zero for an emergency, as ambulance services nationwide report significant increases in call volumes for non-emergency related matters.
In December 2021, Triple Zero operators answered more than 940,000 calls – 40,000 more calls than the previous year (December 2020), and over 100,000 more calls than the previous month (November 2021).
Many of these calls were from people seeking advice or assistance from ambulance services about Covid-19 issues that are of a non-urgent nature and could be handled elsewhere.
Federal Minister for Communications Paul Fletcher MP said as a consequence, the Triple Zero service was experiencing difficulties transferring some calls to ambulance services as its call-takers were occupied dealing with non-emergency calls.
“A considerable volume of calls do not require life-saving emergency assistance, and could be directed to other health services for assistance. I urge people to dial Triple Zero only if there is an emergency,” Minister Fletcher said.
“Triple Zero is one of our most important services, saving countless lives every year, and it’s critical we keep that service functioning as it should. The assistance and judgement of every Australian to ensure they call only when there is a genuine emergency is critical to that.”
Those seeking advice or assistance about Covid-19 symptoms that are not serious should contact healthdirect.gov.au or call the National Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080.
Telstra will be updating its Triple Zero Recorded Voice Announcement advising people seeking advice about Covid-19 to contact Health Direct and the National Coronavirus Helpline.
For other services providing support on a range of matters, visit https://www.australia.gov.au/phone-contacts