The Emergency Services Minister has been accused of being asleep at the wheel after he dismissed concerns a witness to a robbery was put on hold for five minutes after ringing “000” as thieves broke into the neighbouring shop.
State MP Fiona Simpson said Minister Neil Roberts’ acceptance of the delay was a disgrace and showed he had no care to ensure the problems were addressed.
“This Minister is out of touch. His flippant answer as to why bakery owner Dane van Wegen of Bundilla was put on hold by the “000” operator for five minutes before being put through to Police doesn’t cut it.,” Ms Simpson said.
“The Emergency Services Minister should be demanding action rather than calmly accepting delays in the “000” emergency system.”
Mr van Wegen called “000” as soon as he heard the glass of the neighbouring computer store was smashed by robbers. It is believed the security firm which also electronically covers the store put in a call to 000.
“Is the Minister seriously saying the system cannot cover these calls without putting people on hold for about 5 minutes? That’s unacceptable and he should be saying so and then demanding a solution.
“This is a bigger problem than just this incident. It is happening around the State but you can’t fix what you don’t admit to – and he’s certainly in lullaby land about the problem.”
Ms Simpson said Mr van Wegen told her he had experienced the same problem 12 months earlier when another local business was robbed and he rang ‘000’ and was also put on hold.
“I’m extremely concerned the State’s ‘000’ emergency call service should have notified local police quicker. This seems to be a systemic failure – not a one-off. The emergency call system is letting down the public.
“In the incident on Monday (Jan 9) Mr van Wegen rang ‘000’ about 3.14am. “The State Government tries to blame prank callers for clogging up the system but I don’t think you can seriously claim that’s the case at three in the morning. Their excuses don’t add up.”