Communities and first responders will benefit from increased mission-critical communications coverage during emergencies, with a $217 million boost to expand the Government Radio Network (GRN), and build a Public Safety Network for Emergency Services Organisations.
Minister for Customer Service Victor Dominello and Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott said the investment will strengthen community safety and better protect first responders, by consolidating about 70 separate agency radio networks into one, allowing vital information to be shared more efficiently. “The radio network played a critical role in protecting communities and supporting the Rural Fire Service, Police, Fire and Rescue, Ambulance and the State Emergency Service during the recent bushfires,” Mr Dominello said.
“During emergencies such as bushfires and floods, every second counts. We are making life easier for first responders by providing them with a first class communications infrastructure that will help keep people and places safe.”
Mr Elliott said first responders risk their lives to protect communities, and the funding will give them greater certainty and confidence when working on the frontline.
“In Northern NSW, the coverage will expand to Glen Innes, Inverell, Tenterfield and Ben Lomond and provide improved coverage for areas including Moree and Warialda,” Mr Elliott said.
“In Southern NSW, it is expanding across the Riverina to the Victorian border to provide greater coverage to the towns of Holbrook, Tarcutta, Gundagai and Albury.”
The funding will enable the NSW Telco Authority to accelerate the Critical Communications Enhancement Program to reach 96 per cent of populated areas.
This funding is in addition to the more than $401 million allocated to the upgrade of the GRN since 2016.