All Australians will now be able to receive warnings on their mobile phones if they are near an emergency.


Optus and Vodafone Hutchison Australia networks have now joined Telstra in being able to send emergency text alerts, meaning all Australians will now be covered.

The capability allows the networks to text warning messages wherever the customer is.

Previously, the texts could only be sent to a mobile phone’s registered service address and to landlines, meaning visitors to an area in the midst of an emergency missed out.

The enhanced system was put into effect for the first time on Sunday, when the NSW fire service sent emergency warnings to more than 600 people.

It is a result of a joint Victorian and federal partnership, which Federal Justice Minister Michael Keenan says will serve the nation well going into the summer fire season.

“We’re very keen to make sure everybody understands this is not the only way they can receive information from the Australian government, but it’s one more way they can receive information,” he said at Tuesday’s launch in Melbourne.

The service is designed to reach active mobile phones roaming on Australian networks.

Mr Keenan said 99 per cent of Australians have mobile coverage and the government is working on a program to eliminate black spots.

Victorian Police and Emergency Services Minister Kim Wells praised the system as a world first and said Victoria had led the way.

“We now have a very good system but it’s not the only system people need to rely on when the fire season comes,” he said.

Mr Wells said people need to be alert and aware of what’s happening around them.

The federal government has invested almost $60 million towards the warning system and Victoria $8 million.

Source: NineMSN