Case Study: Technical, Business Continuity and Risk Management Advisory Services for Government Inquiry

On 22 November 2012, a fire damaged Telstra's exchange in Warrnambool, which acts as a transmission hub for telecommunications connectivity in the region. This left several communities and more than 100,000 people in South West Victoria without fixed-line telecommunications services for a period of up to three weeks. Given the extent of the impact of the Warrnambool exchange fire, on 28 November 2012 the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy asked the Department to undertake an inquiry to identify lessons to assist in averting such an event in the future and mitigating the impacts of any future outage.

The inquiry directly engaged with Telstra, NBN Co, the Victorian Government and the banking sector. Bilateral discussions were had with other government departments and agencies including the Commonwealth Department of Human Services (DHS), the Commonwealth Attorney- General’s Department (AGD), the Telecommunications Universal Service Management Agency, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) and the Office of the Australian Information Commission.

Business Aspect were engaged by the Department of Broadband, Communications and Digital Economy to provide technical, risk management and business continuity planning expertise to the inquiry. This input included contributing to key components of the final report. This report has been released by the Minister and will provide a valuable set of lessons learnt for use in the future development of telecommunications infrastructure and the handling of similar incidents.