The Governor of Victoria, the Honourable Linda Dessau AC, listens in on an emergency phone call with Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority call-taker Eileen Rivera during a visit to the centre in Mount Helen last week. Photo: CHIPPY RIVERA

Governor Dessau visits emergency call centre

February 6, 2019 BY

The Governor of Victoria, the Honourable Linda Dessau AC visited the Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority’s Ballarat centre last week.

As Patron of the 10-Year Anniversary of the 2009 Victorian Bushfires, the Governor is visiting bushfire affected communities to hear about their challenges and help celebrate their achievements in recovery.

“I’m here to learn as much as I can, see as much as I can and thank as much as I can,” said Governor Dessau.

The Governor visited Narbethong, Marysville, Toolangi, King Lake and Flowerdale in the days prior to coming to Ballarat.

“While the ESTA centre in Ballarat is not a bushfire affected community, it was heavily involved in the handling of the emergency calls during that time,” said Anthony Rasmussen, executive manager of operations at the Ballarat centre.

Mr Rasmussen and Marty Smyth, ESTA’s CEO escorted the Governor and her husband, Anthony Howard QC, on a tour of the facility explaining the services provided and the types of calls handled.

Governor Dessau sat in and listened to an operator answer real-time triple zero calls during her visit.

“Triple zero operators deserve thanks for the work they did during that time [2009 Victorian bushfires] and what they do every day,” she said.

“[The operators] are calm and organised, I’m very impressed at how well ESTA looks after its people giving them the help they need in this challenging environment.”

ESTA provides the critical link between the Victorian community and the state’s emergency services agencies.

It provides Victoria’s 24-hour emergency call-taking and dispatch services for police, fire, ambulance and VICSES.

In 2017-18, 2,570,282 calls were answered representing a call every 12 seconds or more than 7000 a day.

February 2019 marks the 10-year anniversary of Black Saturday and the 2009 Victorian Bushfires when tragically, 173 people lost their lives in the fires.