Communications Alliance and Energy Networks Australia (ENA) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to improve the way the two sectors collaborate and share knowledge when responding to emergency situations.
Under the MoU, the pair have agreed to improve the safety of communities by mitigating risks caused by telecommunications or power outages during emergencies, as well as the sustainability of telecommunications and power supply services to communities affected by emergencies to support their recovery.
The MoU also sets out that the two sectors will collaborate and coordinate on preparing telecommunications and electricity networks and infrastructure for responding to emergencies at local, regional, and state level.
A report prepared by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) in May found that during the peak period of the Black Summer bushfires, most telecommunication outages were due to power failures rather than direct fire damage to communication assets.
The report found that during the period from 19 December 2019 to 31 January 2020, only 3% of tower outages were due to fire damage, and of the 1,390 total facilities that were impacted by the fires outages, only 1% of incidents were a direct result of fire damage.
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Similar findings were disclosed by the company responsible for deploying the National Broadband Network (NBN) across Australia. In June, NBN revealed in response to Senate Estimates Question on Notice that bushfires impacted 1% of all NBN services.
“12% (or 6,367 services) of all services impacted were directly impacted by fire over the duration of the bushfires,” the company said at the time.
“The remaining services were impacted by power outages as a result of the bushfires.”
The federal government has previously announced it would spend AU$37.1 million to improve the resiliency of the nation’s
Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) is getting a digital makeover, after the federal government announced on Friday it would invest AU$12 million over four years to make it happen.
As part of the revamp, TGA’s business systems and infrastructure will be digitised and cybersecurity measures will be bolstered.
Specifically, it will enable medical companies to use automatic data transfer to deliver drug reaction reports on patient safety from their own internal databases into the TGA Adverse Events Management System (AEMS) database, saving up to 15 minutes per report. This will be a change to the current process that requires reports that are submitted in PDF format, as well as other formats, to be manually entered into the database.
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Minister for Health Greg Hunt touted the revamp would help cut red tape for more than 4,000 businesses that apply to register medicines and medical devices annually, saying it would result in earlier approvals of medical products.
“The TGA receives around 26,000 applications every year for medicines and medical devices to be listed or amended on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG), which allows them to be imported, sold, and used in Australia,” he said.
“The digital changes will enable simpler and more secure interactions between government and industry to apply for, track, pay, and manage listings for regulated and subsidised health-related products and services.”
The program is being delivered as part of the federal government’s deregulation agenda, which has been designed to reduce the cost of doing business with government and performing regulatory compliance through targeted technology investment.
The agenda received just over AU$156 million when the Australian government handed down its 2019-20 Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook at the end of last year.
Earlier this week, the Morrison government announced
Australia’s reliance on the internet and communication services grew significantly for the six months to June 2020, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) 2020 annual consumer survey has revealed.
It showed that 99% of Australians accessed the internet, an increase from 90% of Australians who accessed the internet during the same period last year.
The survey suggested the increase in online activities was likely driven by the COVID-19 restrictions that were introduced in March 2020, given that there were no significant changes from 2018 to 2019.
Emailing, web browsing, banking, and watching videos remained the most popular online activities during the six months.
Read: Long-term remote work is leading to a global drop in productivity (TechRepublic)
Also, for the first time, the ACMA survey showed the participation rates of users going online for accessing news, posting and engaging with content, video conferencing and calling, working from home, telehealth consultations, and studying from home.
When the survey examined how COVID-19 restrictions changed online activity participation, it showed four out of five Australian adults started or increased their participation for both telehealth consultations, and video conferencing and calling.
Specifically, 45% started telehealth consultation, while another 38% increased their telehealth activities. Meanwhile, video conferencing increased by 59%, followed by work from home at 50%, and study from home at 10%.
Gambling and the purchase of lottery tickets online saw the biggest decline at 34% and 22%, respectively, since COVID-19.
The ACMA added that Australians who started or increased their online activities due to the COVID-19 restrictions were more likely to be aged 18-54 than 55-plus.
ACMA’s survey also highlighted how the number of devices that Australian internet users used increased, with the average Australian user accessing 4.4 types of devices, versus just four last