People impacted by bush fires can now receive dedicated assistance with their unresolved phone and internet issues. The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman’s Natural Disasters help line 03 8600 8308 is now open for calls.

Staying connected through phone and internet services is important for the safety of residential and business customers in areas impacted by natural disasters.

TIO Ombudsman Judi Jones said:

“For local residents, remaining connected to phone and internet services means being able to contact emergency services, stay connected to medical assistance, and remain in touch with friends, family and neighbours.

For small businesses it means being able to continue trading, supplying goods and providing a vital network for members of the community”.

The TIO says people in natural disaster areas who’s telecommunication services are impacted should contact their provider first. Many telecommunications providers are offering specific relief packages or assistance for their customers affected by the bush fires.

The TIO dedicated Natural Disasters phone line means consumers and small businesses can talk to someone who understands the issues and will assist in working out what can be done to resolve their phone or internet issue.

If you are in a bush fire affected area and have unsuccessfully attempted to resolve your phone or internet issue with your provider, contact the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman on Natural Disasters phone line, 03 8600 8308, or visit the TIO website to lodge a complaint.

Telstra customers affected by bush fires should call 132 203 and state they are in a bush fire impacted area. In addition to helping people on the ground, Telstra is giving access to free calls and free Telstra Air Wi-Fi through local payphones for everyone in areas affected by bush fires in NSW and Queensland.

Optus customers affected by bush fires should call their dedicated phone line 1300 301 671. Optus is also working with local evacuation centres in the affected areas to provide support including pre-paid phones, pre-paid data packs and charging stations.

Photo credit : Martin Von Stoll