Victoria’s triple zero service predicted COVID-19 surge in demand, inspector-general says


Victoria’s triple zero service “knew what was coming” ahead of the COVID-19 peak, according to Inspector-General for Emergency Management Tony Pearce.
Pearce wrote the report into the Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority (ESTA) which linked at least 33 people had died after experiencing delays since December 2020.

He said modelling done by the ESTA in 2020 accurately predicted the incoming surge in demand for emergency services.

Victoria’s triple zero service “knew what was coming” ahead of pandemics peak according to Inspector General for Emergency Management Tony Pearce. (Nine)

“The numbers that they came up with (in modelling) were very close to the numbers that occurred during the peak,” he said.

“The extent of how over9nwhelmed the system was, was not foreseeable,” he told reporters yesterday.

Pearce said it appeared ESTA was aware of the looming crisis, but lacked the same confidence as other emergency agencies to spend the money needed and deal with the consequences later on.

“History showed what was going to happen,” he said.

Ambulances lined up outside Sunshine Hospital in Melbourne. (Jason South)

“Unfortunately the funding did then not compensate for what we knew was coming.”

Despite the findings of the report, the inspector-general said Victorians should have faith in an improving system which answered more than 90 per cent of calls within five seconds last month.

“At the end of the day if ESTA isn’t able to provide its service, the other organisations simply can’t respond. That’s how critical they are in the loop,” Pearce said.



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