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1998-05-02 13:01:49


Australia's Civil Defense Prepares for Y2K



Australia still has a civil defense program. The United States quietly scrapped its program in 1996. It was under FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency. But civil defense has been flushed down FEMA's memory hole.

Civil defense is designed to protect people before a disaster strikes. A bomb shelter is a good example. In contrast is population control: a post-crisis response. A rapid deployment military force is a good example.

This is from the AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW (April 20).

* * * * * *

The spectre of a millennium bug meltdown has prompted civil defence authorities to prepare for a national emergency, while the business world ponders how to "work around" a breakdown in essential services.

Director-general of the Commonwealth's Emergency Management Australia (EMA), Alan Hodges, last week acknowledged the need to "ensure the safety of Australians on January 1, 2000" and said the National Emergency Management Committee had raised the issue with the States and Territories. . . .

The Australian Stock Exchange has established it could continue to run for around one month with generators if its electricity supply was affected by the inability of some computer programs and embedded processors to recognise four digit dates. "People have to realise this [the year 2000 problem] can actually stop things from happening," said ASX managing director Mr Richard Humphry. . . .

The NSW Auditor-General, Tony Harris, said concern over suppliers had prompted one State agency to sound the alarm.

"We are examining the capacity of key agencies to continue to provide services and one of these agencies has indicated it is not in a position to provide an assurance," Mr Harris said. . . .

Telstra has already alerted customers to the fact that some telecommunications equipment will not be compliant, according to a spokesman for the carrier's year 2000 program. . . .

Transport systems are also at risk, although Qantas, which has a $118m year 2000 budget, last week said "We still believe we will be flying over that period."


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