Tuesday, 26 April 2016 11:13

$63 million to fund upgrade to NSW critical comms network

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The New South Wales Government has allocated $63 million to fund enhancements to the state’s critical communications infrastructure servicing the state’s emergency, law enforcement and essential services agencies.

The NSW Minister for Finance, Services and Property Dominic Perrottet announced the investment and said the funding would be used for the design of a single, state-wide radio network that will integrate and enhance more than 70 separate government agency networks..

The Minister said the shared-network design will seek to deliver vastly improved coverage for key agencies – almost tripling hand-held radio coverage for the State Emergency Service – while eliminating the inefficiency resulting from many government agencies owning, operating and maintaining separate, overlapping networks.

To assist the design process, the Government will also undertake a pilot project in north-western NSW, integrating ten existing agency networks in the area and delivering a 3,314 km2 increase in coverage for local Rural Fire Service, the State Emergency Service and Fire and Rescue units.

The network design will be led by the NSW Telco Authority in collaboration with government agencies to ensure agency requirements are met, as well as private sector providers. Government approval for implementation of the design is expected to be sought in 2017.

The Minister said the Government is delivering on its long-term plan to establish a critical communications network that “looks to the future, increases the safety of agency staff and citizens, and eliminates unnecessary duplication”.

“Our law enforcement and emergency services personnel depend on fast and accurate information to protect the lives and property of NSW citizens.

“Today’s announcement shows we are getting on with the job, delivering a smarter, more reliable, more resilient critical communications network that will increase the safety of citizens and frontline personnel in NSW.”

Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons of the NSW Rural Fire Service welcomed the announcement, saying, "Radio communications are our lifeline. Better availability means a safer and more responsive service.”

Senior Assistant Commissioner Michael Homden from the Ambulance Service of NSW said, “A program focused on improved communication resilience, coverage and innovation will support our front line personnel as they deliver the best possible out-of-hospital care to those in need.”


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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired and is a "volunteer" writer for iTWire. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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