With Insights from the Optus Outage of November 9, 2023

Telecommunications forms the backbone of our interconnected world – where we are ‘always on’. We rely on seamless communication for nearly every aspect of our daily lives, from banking to healthcare. However, when a major telecommunication provider experiences a massive outage, the consequences are far-reaching, affecting millions of Australians and triggering waves of disruption.

Optus’ Telecommunications Network Collapse

On November 9, 2023, millions of Australians woke up to a digital nightmare as Optus, a prominent telecommunications giant, grappled with a severe network outage. The outage, which lasted for an excruciating 12 hours, had a profound impact on digital banking and customer services across the nation.

Digital Banking Disruption

While most of Australia’s 91 deposit-taking institutions managed to keep their digital service platforms operational during the outage, a significant number of customers found themselves locked out of their accounts. Why? Because they relied on Optus phone and broadband services for access.

The impact on the Australian banking landscape was palpable, with contact centre operations taking a direct hit. Some of the country’s largest banks, including Commonwealth Bank, Westpac, and ANZ, struggled to maintain normal operations as their contact centres were paralysed for the majority of the day.

The Commonwealth Bank’s Predicament

Commonwealth Bank, in particular, felt the brunt of the telco’s 12-hour outage. The bank, which heavily depended on Optus for telecommunications services, saw its customers unable to make calls to the company’s contact centre. In a bid to manage the crisis, CBA urged customers to use its banking app for communication since call centres were incapable of receiving calls.

The disruption went beyond just calls. The Netcode SMS-based security service, a vital component of the bank’s security infrastructure, was also severely affected. While the bank assured customers that branches, ATMs, NetBank, CommBank app, CommBiz, and merchant terminals were fully operational, the communication channels were strained.

Disruptions at the contact centres persisted well into the afternoon, leaving customers to grapple with delays. The bank issued warnings to customers, urging them to be patient as they navigated through the crisis.

A Glimpse into the Wider Impact

The outage had a domino effect on various sectors. Retailers and merchants faced challenges in processing Eftpos transactions, requiring adjustments to Eftpos terminals settings. Not all merchants could readily reset their machines, given limited access to the bank’s support centre.

Westpac, too, reported merchant customers experiencing issues with EFTPOS transactions but noted that services were gradually returning to normalcy. Call centres at Westpac were also adversely affected, unable to accept calls until the early afternoon.

A Sector-Wide Challenge

While some banks managed to navigate the Optus-induced storm relatively unscathed, others like Macquarie Bank, Great Southern Bank, and Auswide Bank reported issues stemming from the outage. These institutions, too, faced temporary disruptions in their call centre operations.

Great Southern Bank revealed that customer calls couldn’t be received until around 2:30 pm, and customers with Optus accounts found themselves unable to make online payments. Auswide Bank’s staff mobile phones were also impacted.

The Assurance from Australian Payments Plus

Amid the chaos, Australian Payments Plus sought to reassure the public. They stated that the Optus outage was not expected to affect the processing of Eftpos, BPay, and NPP transactions executed by account holders on Wednesday.

Optus’ Efforts to Restore Services

As the nation grappled with the outage, Optus, on its website, announced that it was working diligently to restore mobile and broadband services. However, it was notable that as of 6 pm on the same day, there was no acknowledgment of the outage on the company’s media portal.

The Resilience of Contact Centres

The Optus outage of November 9, 2023, serves as a stark reminder of the fragility of our digital infrastructure and the critical role that contact centres play in times of crisis. Contact centre agents, the unsung heroes of customer service, faced the challenge head-on, adapting rapidly to maintain essential services.

Ultimately, the resilience and adaptability of contact centres shine through during adversity. They exemplify that even when technology falters, the human touch and adaptability of contact centre agents remain invaluable in preserving customer relationships and ensuring the continuity of essential services.

As a contact centre agent in Australia, understanding how to maximise your tax deductions is essential for optimising your financial well-being. By employing strategic approaches before June 30, you can make the most of available deductions and potentially reduce your taxable income. While you must talk to your tax agent to verify, Contact Centre Magazine has explored effective strategies specifically tailored for contact centre agents in Australia to help them maximise tax deductions and improve their financial outcomes.

“Did you know: You can claim professional memberships like Auscontact as a tax deduction?”

Maintain Accurate Records:

To maximise your tax deductions, it is crucial to keep detailed and accurate records of all work-related expenses. This includes receipts, invoices, and documentation that clearly demonstrate the nature and purpose of the expense. By organising your records meticulously, you will have a solid foundation for identifying and claiming eligible deductions.

Understand Eligible Deductions:

As a contact centre agent, familiarise yourself with the range of deductions applicable to your profession. Common eligible deductions include home office expenses, telephone and internet costs, equipment and tools, professional development courses, and union or professional association fees. Stay updated with the latest tax regulations and guidelines provided by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) to ensure compliance and take advantage of all relevant deductions.

Home Office Deductions:

If you work from home as a contact centre agent, you may be eligible to claim deductions for a portion of your home office expenses. This includes a proportionate share of rent, mortgage interest, utilities, internet costs, and home office equipment. Keep in mind that you need to meet specific criteria set by the ATO, such as having a dedicated workspace primarily used for work purposes, to claim these deductions.

Telephone and Internet Expenses:

Given the nature of your work, telephone and internet expenses are often significant for contact centre agents. You can claim deductions for the work-related portion of your phone calls, mobile phone bills, and internet costs. To maximise your deductions, keep detailed records of your usage and apportion expenses based on the percentage of work-related use.

Education and Professional Development:

Investing in your professional development as a contact centre agent not only enhances your skills but can also provide tax benefits. Deductions can be claimed for the costs associated with attending seminars, workshops, conferences, or undertaking relevant educational courses. Membership fees for industry associations like Auscontact can also be claimed as deductions, providing additional value.

Uniforms and Protective Clothing:

If your role requires specific uniforms or protective clothing, you can claim deductions for the costs of purchasing, cleaning, and maintaining these items. Ensure you maintain records of these expenses and only claim deductions for items that are necessary for your work.

Maximising your tax deductions as a contact centre agent in Australia requires careful planning, accurate record-keeping, and staying informed about eligible deductions. By maintaining detailed records, understanding the specific deductions applicable to your profession, and leveraging opportunities for education and professional development, you can optimise your tax savings and improve your financial outcomes. Stay proactive in keeping up with tax regulations and seek guidance from tax professionals or the ATO to ensure compliance while maximising your deductions. By adopting these strategies, you can navigate the complexities of tax deductions and make significant strides toward financial success as a contact centre agent in Australia.

The contact center industry has been growing rapidly in recent years, with an increasing number of companies relying on contact centers to provide customer support, sales, and other services. With this growth comes an increasing need for skilled professionals who can work in these environments, and the Auscontact Academy aims to meet that need.


The highly anticipated Auscontact Practitioner Symposium 2023, an exceptional event hosted by Auscontact, Australia’s premier industry association for contact centres and customer experience professionals, is fast approaching.

Scheduled to take place on May 8th and 9th at the esteemed Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre in South Brisbane, this symposium presents an unparalleled opportunity for growth and development in the dynamic realm of contact centres.

Registration is now open and industry professionals from all corners of the country are gearing up for an immersive and enlightening gathering. As spots are limited, seize the opportunity to secure your attendance at this unmissable event.

At the core of the Auscontact Practitioner Symposium 2023 are the esteemed keynote speakers, who are experts in the field of customer experience and contact centre management. Prepare to be inspired and informed by their invaluable insights and expertise.

One of the distinguished keynote speakers is Rachel Aziz, the Chief People and Culture Officer of Recoveriescorp. Rachel’s session ‘Strength in Differences: Harnessing the Power of Diversity to Drive a Successful Organisational Culture’ will dive into the importance of creating a diverse and inclusive workplace culture. Aziz firmly believes that a workplace culture that values and celebrates diversity is crucial for building a strong and successful organisation. In her talk, she will share practical insights on how organisations can harness the power of diversity to drive innovation and creativity, improve decision-making, and boost employee engagement.

Attendees will be inspired by Adrian King, Chief Operating Officer at Kleu and keynote speaker at the Auscontact Practitioner Symposium. With a background in science, accounting, and financial risk management, King has refocused his attention on sustainable business management and is leading the charge towards a more sustainable global economy. As a passionate advocate for the role of businesses in addressing big issues like climate change and human rights, King is uniquely positioned to shed light on the ‘Human aspect of emotional labour and psychosocial risks in contact centres.’ Attendees can look forward to gaining valuable insights into how they can create more resilient and sustainable businesses while taking care of their employees’ well-being.

Full List of Keynote Speakers at the Auscontact Practitioner Symposium:

The Auscontact Practitioner Symposium 2023 is a unique opportunity to join the conversation, gain fresh insights, and take your contact centre career to new heights. This prestigious event is filling up fast, so register HERE to secure your spot. For more information and updates, visit the Auscontact website and follow us on social media using the hashtag #Auscontact. Don’t miss out on this chance to enhance your skills and advance your career in the ever-evolving world of contact centres. Register now!

Are you a contact centre leader in Australia or New Zealand? Do you want to stay ahead of the competition and learn about the latest trends, insights and strategies to keep your operations thriving? If customer experience and operational excellence is important to your organisation, mark your calendars for May 8th and 9th, 2023 because the Auscontact Practitioners Symposium in Brisbane is the must-attend event of the year.

With an impressive lineup of speakers and exclusive insights into best practices, this event will provide you with everything you need to take your operations to the next level. Let’s take a closer look at what you can expect.

Are you looking for a job in the contact centre industry? Look no further than Auscontact’s job board, the first of its kind dedicated to the industry in Australia and New Zealand. With a range of job opportunities available from top recruiters, this is the perfect place to start your career or take the next step in your professional journey.

Here are the top 10 jobs being advertised on the Auscontact job board:

1. Contact Centre Manager – Hays Recruitment

Are you an experienced manager looking to lead a team in a fast-paced and dynamic environment? Hays Recruitment is currently seeking a Contact Centre Manager to oversee the operations of a busy contact centre.

2. Team Leader – Probe CX

As a Team Leader at Probe CX, you will be responsible for managing a team of customer service agents, ensuring they provide the highest level of customer satisfaction. With a focus on coaching and development, this is a great opportunity for an experienced team leader looking for a new challenge.

3. Sales Consultant – TactiCall Recruitment Services

Do you have a passion for sales? TactiCall Recruitment Services is currently seeking a Sales Consultant to join their team. In this role, you will be responsible for driving revenue growth by developing and executing sales strategies.

4. Customer Support Executive – TactiCall Recruitment Services

TactiCall Recruitment Services is also seeking a Customer Support Executive to provide outstanding customer service to their clients. If you have excellent communication skills and a passion for helping others, this could be the perfect job for you.

5. Customer Care Consultant – nib Group

nib Group is currently seeking a Customer Care Consultant to join their team. In this role, you will be responsible for providing excellent customer service and support to their members.

6. Learning Design Specialist – Hinchen Resources

As a Learning Design Specialist at Hinchen Resources, you will be responsible for creating engaging and effective training materials for contact centre agents. If you have experience in instructional design and a passion for helping people learn, this could be the perfect job for you.

7. Candidate Experience Team Leader – Adecco 

Adecco is seeking a Candidate Experience Team Leader to oversee their recruitment team. In this role, you will be responsible for ensuring a positive candidate experience throughout the recruitment process.

8. Customer Service Agents – TactiCall Recruitment Services

TactiCall Recruitment Services is also seeking Customer Service Agents to provide support to their clients. If you have excellent communication skills and a passion for helping others, this could be the perfect job for you.

9. Trainer – Probe CX

As a Trainer at Probe CX, you will be responsible for designing and delivering training programs to contact centre agents. If you have experience in training and a passion for helping people learn, this could be the perfect job for you.

10. Senior Operations Manager – Concentrix

Concentrix is seeking a Senior Operations Manager to oversee the operations of their contact centre. In this role, you will be responsible for ensuring the highest level of customer satisfaction while driving revenue growth.

These are just a few of the many job opportunities available on the Auscontact job board. With a variety of positions available at all levels, there is something for everyone. Don’t miss out on the chance to take your career to the next level – visit the Auscontact job board today!