Australia passes Y2K rollover

Australian businesses have so far escaped any major glitches caused by the Y2K date change.

Organisations across the public and private sector spent an estimated $12 billion readying systems for the transition.

Monitoring Australia's key infrastructure throughout the night from the federal government's National Coordination Centre (NCC), Senator Ian Campbell, parliamentary secretary to the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts said: "there were no significant reports of failures.

"The important thing is that two and a half years of time and effort has so far payed good results."

"[We are still] waiting for something partially bad to happen," he said.

Campbell said he is especially happy with the success of the NCC's Web site, www.y2kaustralia.gov.au which has been providing real time information to an estimated 5 million visitors since midnight.

"We designed the information systems in the Centre to pull together masses of detailed information and put it on the Web site instantly. . .it looks the site will have been the most visited site in the world," Campbell said.

The NCC is yet to calculate the number of international visitors to the site, but Campbell said prior to going live, the site had attracted 8000 visitors, 40 per cent of whom had come from the US.

Despite the threat of Y2K activated viruses and hacker attacks, Campbell said the NCC had not received any reports of security problems.

"I presume there would be some," Campbell said, adding the NCC had mainly focussed on the performance of the major utilities.

Meanwhile, other key Australian industries also reported a smooth transition to the new year.

Peter Gibson, spokesperson from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority said: "We checked last night and there were not abnormalities . . .in fact we are not going to check again until universal time - 11am [EST] . . .I wonder was there ever a problem," he said.

Gibson said the air traffic control systems and main airports checked in without mishap.

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) also emerged from the rollover unscathed.

"All systems continue to run as expected," a spokesperson from CBA said.

"Our EFTPOS, ATM, Internet and phone banking systems continue to work and our communication lines had no problem."

According to a spokesperson from Telstra, the telco provider reported no significant incidents throughout the night.

"Overall Telstra is extremely pleased with how its networks and services have performed over the transition. There has been the normal congestion around capital cities together with increased international traffic," Negba Weiss-Dolev, Telstra's Y2K program director said.

"Preparation that has occurred over the past years appears to have a very positive result."

The New South Wales Health Department was also very pleased with its Y2K preparations.

There were no reported problems from the state's public hospitals or ambulance services and "it all went according to plan," a spokesperson said.

Despite glowing reports throughout the country, organisations, including Telstra and the NCC are continuing to monitor systems as countries across the world click over to 2000.

In related news, several Web sites, including the NSW Government and supermarket chain, Franklins were attacked last night by an intruder leaving a message: "I hacked this site simply to say . . .welcome to the Y2K. Happy New Year by Siko."

There had been no other reports of attacks, according to officials contacted by IDG.

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