Aust govt takes no additional Y2K precautions

In preparation for Y2K-related chaos, 96,000 Japanese troops will be on duty for New Year's Eve but the Australian government will not take similar precautionary military measures.

Following last week's announcement that Japan's Self Defence Force (SDF) would provide 96,000 troops and more than 100 Japanese aircraft, warships and other vehicles in bases across the country on December 31, a federal government spokesperson said Australia had "no similar plans" for defence measures.

The spokesperson said the same number of troops would be on call that night "as on any other day of the year".

In the event of Y2K-related disaster, Emergency Management Australia (EMA) would call upon military, police, State Emergency Services (SES) and other emergency organisations for assistance, the spokesperson said, specifying that EMA would coordinate emergency authorities according to the type of disaster.

EMA is the federal agency responsible for reducing the impact of natural and human-caused disasters on the Australian community. It has federal authority to respond to emergency information provided by state governments. However, EMA requires emergency procedure authority from the Minister of Defence only in a situation where the Australian Defence Force is required.

A spokesperson for the federal Minister of Defence said there was no "blanket" federal legislation to regulate state-by-state emergency procedure.

About 31,000 SES volunteers will be on call across Australia and will be used primarily to deal with natural disasters, including floods, storms and tempests.

The number of military and law enforcement employees who on call this New Year's Eve was not publicly available.

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