Please listen to your local radio and TV announcements or call 1300 TSUNAMI (1300 878 6264) for latest warning information.
Media: Transmitters serving the area between Mackay and Double Island Point and inland to Blackwater, Moura, Biloela, Monto, Taroom, Mundubbera and Murgon are requested to USE the Standard Emergency Warning Signal before broadcasting the following warning. A separate Severe Weather Warning is current to the south of Double Island Point and west to the Great Dividing Range. Telstra has been awarded the contract to build a national telephony-based emergency warning system in the event of a life-threatening natural disaster. Victoria’s Police and Emergency Services Minister, Bob Cameron, said that Telstra will build and deliver a fixed and mobile phone National Emergency Warning System (NEWS) by the end of October and testing will commence in November. The new system is one outcome of many recommendations from the Royal Commission into February’s deadly Victorian bushfires, which called for an overhaul of bushfire warning systems.
Cameron said the system will alert communities to emergencies via a recorded voice message on landline telephones and a text message on mobiles, based on the subscribers’ billing address. Vodafone Hutchison Australia has now signed on to provide location-based emergency warnings during times of disaster or national emergency. The developers of a radio-based emergency warning technology have secured backing from a Coalition Senator as they continue to lobby the Government to consider their technology against a SMS-based system supplied by Telstra.
Telstra’s submission to the Senate Inquiry on Emergency Warning systems subsequently called for additional strategies to preserve the supply of electricity in the event of disasters.

In correspondence with the YellowBird developers sighted by ITnews, the Attorney-General rejected criticism of the Telstra's NEWS system. A WORLD-first emergency alert system to deliver text messages to mobile phones will be in place this year. Today, Victorian Deputy Premier Peter Ryan, together with Federal Attorney-General Nicola Roxon, announced that the state had come to an agreement with Vodafone to sign on to the warning system. The system has stabilized within the category 4 range over the past few hours but may still reach category 5 before landfall. Note also that abnormally high tides are also likely on Friday evening's high tide in parts of the warning area even though the cyclone is likely to be over land and weaker by then. The Bureau and the State Emergency Service would appreciate this warning being broadcast regularly. The telecommunications company joins Telstra, which made the decision to assist in the development of a national emergency alerts system in January.
Telstra's SMS-based warning service is expected to come into operation this November, but given Vodafone's delay in signing up to the proposal, Vodafone will not be ready until November next year. The YellowBird ALERT (Automatic Linking to Emergency Radio Transmissions) system allows emergency authorities and radio stations to selectively switch on radios in areas impacted by an emergency or disaster.
The radio technology which drives the Yellow Bird Alert system has received no funding or testing of its merits, he said.

The letter adds that the Federal Government defers to States and Territories on the use of emergency warning systems. Vodafone has come to an agreement with the Victorian Government to help contribute to an updated version of Australia's national emergency alert system. The locally-developed technology was overlooked by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) in 2009, members of which decided that telephony (rather than radio) was the appropriate technology to back for an emergency warning system. YellowBird developers estimated it would cost approximately $600,000 to test the efficacy and merits of the system in the field.
Such integration would allow a functional emergency warning system to function without the need for intact power, mobile telephone and computing resource networks, a similar situation to that encountered in Japan after recent disasters there,” Robson said.
The resulting National Emergency Warning System (NEWS) was put to the test during the recent floods in Queensland.

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