The Hon. David Littleproud MP
Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management
Deputy Leader of the Nationals
Federal Member for Maranoa
Ref No: MC20-034722
Mr Andrew Penn
Chief Executive Officer
Telstra Corporation Ltd
Dear Mr Penn
Thank you for the work that Telstra is continuing with regards to disaster preparedness and
response. Both within the aftermath of the black summer bushfires, and in preparing for our
current severe weather season.
I am writing to highlight findings from the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster
Arrangements, and implications for the telecommunications sector. I also wish to express my
concern that previous requests to Telstra for crucial data have not been adequately
The final Recommendations of the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster
Arrangements were publicly released on Friday 30 October 2020. Broadly, the findings are
aimed not only at Commonwealth, State, Territory and Local Governments, but also industry.
With regard to essential services and their critical infrastructure, which includes
telecommunications, I note Recommendations 9.4 and 9.5. These Recommendations
outline specifically the need for an improvement in our national collective awareness of
critical infrastructure, associated risks, and steps needed to mitigate such risks.
A key element of this involves Telstra and others in the telecommunications industry making
data available with regard to the location of critical assets and any redundancies in place in
order to assist emergency services responding to disasters.
I am also concerned that another key request made to Telstra which has not been
actioned. During a tour of your Global Operations Centre in Melbourne on 30 October 2019,
I was assured that the provision of telecommunications asset location data to emergency
services was logical, and would not be an issue for your organisation. I have since received
correspondence from you reaffirming this.
Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600 Telephone: 02 6277 7190 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
I am aware that the NSW Government has made representations to the Commonwealth which
indicate that this information has still not been provided to frontline emergency service personnel.
I am also aware that Telstra reached out to Emergency Management Australia (EMA) to discuss
this in February 2020. I understand that this is the only time Telstra has reached out to EMA in
response to my letter.
Given the findings of the Royal Commission, and my previous requests for the provision of this
information, I urge you to provide this crucial data to emergency management agencies, first
responders and officials from all States and Territories, and the Commonwealth as a priority.
I am aware of concerns that you and other members of the telecommunications industry
have with regards to security and I am confident that proactively working with emergency
management agencies across State and Commonwealth levels will mitigate this risk.
Australians will be watching all levels of Government and industry closely with regards to
how we respond to these Recommendations. Our approach is to be open and transparent.
I will be highlighting my expectations of Telstra, and others within the telecommunications
industry, and will be reporting to the Australian people on the responses I receive.
I look forward to an update from you on how you are addressing these concerns.
DAVID LITTLEPROUD MP