Dominic Perrottet
Minister for Finance, Services and Property

$63M For Safer, Smarter Critical Comms Network

Minister for Finance, Services and Property Dominic Perrottet today announced a $63 million investment in 2016-17 to enhance the critical communications infrastructure servicing the state’s emergency, law enforcement and essential services agencies.

The investment will fund the design of a single, state-wide radio network that will integrate and enhance more than 70 separate government agency networks. 

Mr Perrottet 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,” Mr Perrottet said.

“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.”

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.

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 also commended the announcement. “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,” he said.

The network design will be led by 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.