[LINK] Victorian Internet Bushfire Warnings

Tom Worthington Tom.Worthington at tomw.net.au
Wed Jul 8 12:37:26 AEST 2009

of the 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission was presented by the 
Counsel Assisting on 2 July 2009. The draft report in a 63 page PDF 
document (536 kbytes): 

Several of the key findings and recommendations relate to the use of 
the Internet, the web and other ICT. The commission has done a very 
thorough and thoughtful job in collecting, analysis and collation of 
a large amount of information and making sensible relevant 
recommendations. The recommendations for having a single bushfire 
emergency web site and using visual as well as text based information 
and to be designed to function during periods of extreme demand are 
key. For several years I have been teaching students of the 
Australian National University how to 
emergency web sites.

One criticism I would have of the recommendations which relate to the 
use of ICT is that they are made peace meal, under the various 
topics. A key problem which this therefore does not address is the 
peace meal nature of the resulting systems. What is needed is one 
system which is used to prepare one consistent collection on bushfire 
which can be disseminated using different technology to different people.

As an example the commission recommends that warnings be read on air 
on the ABC, but I suggest that these warnings should also be 
available via the ABC's web site and particularly their mobile web 
site and via the RSS and other feed systems the ABC uses.

Also while the commission recommends one single, multi agency 
bushfire information website for Victoria, in my opinion, this does 
not go far enough. Bushfire is not the only form of emergency which 
Victoria is subject to. Therefore the Victorian government should 
provide one emergency information website for all forms of life 
threatening emergencies in Victoria, including bus fires.

One issued raised by a 
to the inquiry, but not taken up by the commission in its 
recommendations is the resilience of the proposed National Broadband 
Network in an emergency. As I have pointed out, the government has 
not set does not have 
of the NBN in an emergency as a priority. If the NBN is not designed 
to operate during a power failure or in other emergencies, as it 
beings to replace conventional PSTN telephones, the risk to the 
public will increase as a result.

Excerpts from the proposed interim report referring to the web, 
Internet and ICT at: 

Tom Worthington FACS HLM tom.worthington at tomw.net.au Ph: 0419 496150
Director, Tomw Communications Pty Ltd            ABN: 17 088 714 309
PO Box 13, Belconnen ACT 2617                      http://www.tomw.net.au/
Adjunct Senior Lecturer, Australian National University 

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