MEMBER for Barwon Kevin Humphries has welcomed a $9.3 million pilot to trial an improved critical communications network in north-west NSW.
The pilot is part of a $63 million investment announced by Minister for Finance, Services and Property Dominic Perrottet to enhance the critical communications infrastructure servicing the state's emergency, law enforcement and essential services agencies.
The project will include the design of a single, state-wide radio network that will integrate and enhance more than 70 separate government agency networks.
The shared-network design should provide vastly improved coverage for key agencies while reducing the inefficiency resulting from many government agencies owning, operating and maintaining separate, overlapping networks.
The pilot project will be an opportunity to test design and delivery processes before a broader rollout of the Critical Communications Enhancement Program across NSW.
The pilot area stretches from the farming regions around Nyngan in the south to Lightning Ridge in the north, incorporating a total area of 57,640km2 and including the towns of Warren, Coonamble, Carinda, Walgett and Collarenebri.
Mr Humphries said it was expected to enhance communications services for law enforcement and public safety agencies in an area where network coverage has been sparse.
"We should see an additional 3000km2 increase in coverage for local Rural Fire Service, the State Emergency Service and Fire and Rescue units," he said.
"Importantly, it will create a single, efficient network that allows NSW Government agencies to operate on the one network - that includes RFS, SES, Fire & Rescue, NSW Police, Ambulance, OEH, Forestry, RMS, Essential Energy and State Water.
"That additional communication could prove critical in an emergency situation," he said.
The pilot should be completed in January 2017.