The Hon. C.L. WINGARD (Gibson—Minister for Police, Emergency Services and Correctional Services, Minister for Recreation, Sport and Racing) (13:15): I seek leave to make a ministerial statement...
The Hon. C.L. WINGARD: At approximately 8am on Friday 2 November, the Department for Correctional Services identified a communications fault with the electronic monitoring system used to track offenders fitted with electronic monitoring devices. The department escalated the issue to Telstra who began urgent diagnostic work. A central incident command centre was established shortly after the fault was identified. A Department for Correctional Services liaison was also positioned at SAPOL's ComCen.
The critical failure was caused by a fault in Telstra's network, which caused a disruption on a key transmission link and which in turn impacted on the ability of some devices to authenticate on the network. The redundant link remained operational; however, it did not have the capacity to handle both its own baseline traffic plus the high volume of repeated authentication attempts by offline devices triggered by the failed link. The system was progressively restored in a controlled way throughout Saturday morning and returned to full operational capacity by early afternoon.
Telstra allocated an expert resource to specifically monitor the restoration rate of corrective service bracelets throughout the recovery period. This was reported on a continuing basis to Telstra's senior management to provide assurance of progressive restoration of these critical services. Both the Department for Correctional Services and my office were updated regularly right throughout the service disruption.
I want to make it clear that electronic monitoring is one tool used by the department to monitor offenders; it is not the sole tool. During the outage, the department deployed well-established contingency plans to monitor offenders. The contingency plans involved physical and telephone contact with offenders. The department brought online additional officers and physical resources to increase direct monitoring in the community. The Chief Executive of Correctional Services and I remained in contact with Telstra throughout the critical failure.
This morning, the CE and I met with representatives from Telstra to seek reassurances that every effort is being made to reduce the possibility of a critical incident of this nature from occurring again. Telstra is reviewing its network resilience and redundancy capability, and its engineering teams are assessing alternative mobile service options. As the Minister for Correctional Services, I have made it clear that this failure is unacceptable.
Telstra is in the process of conducting a post-implementation review, and I will meet with Telstra to discuss the findings of that review as soon as it is complete. I am aware that outages of this nature have occurred in previous years, and I want to emphasise that this government is committed to delivering better services across South Australia and keeping our community safety.