Telstra will build the infrastructure for a new national telephony-based warning system that will alert Australians in the event of a life-threatening emergency.
Victorian Police and Emergency Services Minister Bob Cameron said that after a rigorous tender process, where Telstra was chosen over rival Optus, the Victorian phase of the system would be completed by the end of October, allowing for the system to be ready in time for the next bushfire season.
"Experts predict this fire season could be potentially worse than the season we've just experienced and Victoria led the delivery of the new national based system because we wanted a system in place for this fire season that could alert communities in the event of a life-threatening emergency,” the Minister said.
The need for an alert system was highlighted earlier this year when a series of bushfires ignited across the Victoria in February, which resulted in 170 deaths - Australia's highest ever loss of life from a bushfire.
After the bushfires occurred the government was heavily criticised for not having a warning system in place.
The Minister explained that the system would alert communities to emergencies by sending a recorded voice message to landline telephones and an SMS text message to mobiles based on subscribers' billing address.
The Victorian Government said it aimed to develop an additional capability to deliver mobile phone messages based on the physical location of a handset at the time of an emergency. It also wants to be able to use the technology to track down mobile phones.
It will address the handset tracking system in its latest request for tender, which closes on 28 October.