The national family, domestic, and sexual violence counselling hotline 1800RESPECT will soon be delivered by Telstra Health under an initial five-year contract.
The telco giant secured the AU$200 million contract through an extensive procurement process. It will take over from existing provider Medibank Health Solutions and their subcontractors Safe Steps Family Violence Response Centre, Womens Safety Services SA, DVConnect, On the Line, and Canberra Rape Crisis Centre that have held the contract to deliver the national service since 2010.
Minister for Women's Safety Anne Ruston said the change aims to continue to provide ongoing support for Australians affected by family, domestic, and sexual violence.
"Through this process we are ensuring the future service meets the diverse and complex needs of people seeking support, as our understanding of trauma and the pervasive nature of gendered violence continues to evolve," she said.
When Telstra Health takes over the contract from July 1, the company will integrate additional services for users, including text messages, video calls, and follow-ups on referrals with users when safe to do so.
"We will bring our delivery expertise together with our technology credentials to ensure 1800RESPECT continues to be a high-quality, accessible, and inclusive service for all people across Australia who are affected by domestic, family and sexual violence and workplace sexual harassment," Telstra Health CEO Mary Foley said.
"Telstra Health will work collaboratively with DVConnect and other specialist providers including Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations and other organisations that support communities who experience barriers in accessing support."
Ruston added the technology upgrades would support a "'tell it once' model of service delivery to minimise the need for users to repeat their story".
"The government is ensuring that 1800RESPECT will expand its service offering to provide psychological support and referrals to people affected by workplace sexual harassment, as well as maintaining de-identified and disaggregated data on contacts regarding workplace sexual harassment," she added.
Separately, the telco incumbent together with Ericsson have boasted AgriFood Connect -- a joint initiative that so happens to be partly owned by Telstra, as well as University of Queensland and FKG Group -- was the "first-ever" to deploy Ericsson Private 5G, an on-premise network that utilises single-server 5G dual-mode core.
Using Ericsson Private 5G, Telstra claims that AgriFood Connect was able to deploy industrial IoT capabilities over 5G to support activities such as asset condition monitoring and the collection of data from machinery.
"Challenging locations in regional Australia, where there is comparatively limited backhaul capacity, will greatly benefit from this technology," Telstra network and infrastructure executive Iskra Nikolova said.
"For example, a remote farming or a manufacturing business could embrace the latest advancements in video analytics and IoT connectivity, almost regardless of their location, with the data processed on site".