Pulling together to keep communities connected
Posted on December 31, 2010
3 min read
My thoughts are with everyone in Queensland who have lost homes, properties, businesses and livestock in these devastating floods. I can only imagine the hardships you are all going through. In some instances it may take months, perhaps longer to start to recover fully and to rebuild lives and livelihoods.
I have heard first hand through my contacts and associates, as well as through my team (the Telstra technicians) of the devastation that has been wreaked around the state. One mine has 140 metres of water in it and may take up to 12 months to become operational again. Fruit and vegetable growers have lost their crops and, as a result, their annual income.
Telstra’s network and infrastructure are not immune to the floods and many customers don’t have working telecommunications services. In times of emergencies such as this being able to communicate is of upmost importance and we are doing everything possible to get services up and running.
Yesterday we arranged a Blackhawk helicopter to drop two generators and fuel to the Theodore exchange to keep it operational. A couple of days ago we also made sure the emergency services in Theodore had handheld iridium satellite phones to keep communication channels open.
The whole town has now been evacuated except for a few police and our local technician David, who is living at the local golf club so he is close to the exchange to make sure it keeps working. I spoke to David last night and he is taking it all in his stride. He is looking forward to having a bit more company when people are allowed to return home.
We had a major fibre washed away in Bundaberg that has affected many Central Queensland centres and townships. Much of the cable and fibre goes through, under and over rivers in Queensland and naturally suffer a similar fate as roads, railway lines, bridges and other infrastructure. My team worked last night to get the repair work done and now everyone in that area is back on air.
By the first couple of days in January, we will have more than 100 technicians arrive in Queensland from the other states to help with the repair work. Some have been here for a few days already.
The Telstra workforce, like the rest of Australia, pulls together in times of emergency and we are doing everything we can to get our customers back on line as quickly as possible. We will work around the clock, but it may take weeks, and in some instance months to have everything restored and fully operational.
Mother Nature is predicted to bring more rain and our restoration work will be largely dictated by the weather and flood conditions.
Customers should call Telstra on 13 22 03 to report a fault and register for the assistance package if their phone service has been affected by the floods and the storms.
Telstra has announced assistance packages for a number of areas in Queensland whose services have been affected by the floods:
- Wide Bay: Bundaberg and Munduberra.
- Central Queensland: Biloela, Cracow, Emerald, Moura, Rockhampton, Theodore and Wowan.
- Southern Queensland: Allora, Alpha, Boonah, Chinchilla, Dalby, Jericho, Killarney, Warra and Warwick.
Every organisation involved in recovery work in Queensland is doing an amazing job and I would like to thank everyone for their ongoing efforts.