The NSW government has allocated $719 million in today’s state budget to complete the rollout of its single state-wide radio network for emergency services agencies.
The new funding, revealed on Tuesday, will flow towards the final phase of the critical communications enhancement program (CCEP), which has been progressing since 2016.
The program is focused on consolidating the government’s 70 separate agency radio network into one in an bid to remove inefficiencies that stem from overlapping networks.
Emergency services and other essential services agencies will instead use the public safety network (PSN), which currently covers 96 percent of the population.
Funding will expand the PSN – considered the “most important critical communications network in NSW” after the 000 hotline – to almost 100 percent of the population.
“This is the fourth tranche of funding this government has committed to CCEP since 2016,” Digital Minister Victor Dominello said.
“This additional investment increases the state’s population coverage to 99.7 percent, demonstrating our deep commitment to improving services in regional NSW.”
Treasurer Dominic Perrottet added that the funding would “guarantee radio coverage for first responders across the state”.
The new investment – which brings the total to $1.33 billion between 2018 and 2026 – includes $660 million in capital funding over four years.
At least $100 million of this will flow to the regions, with $43.4 million set aside for Northern NSW, $27.9 million for the Western NSW and $25.2 million for Southern NSW.
Budget documents indicate that the “final 318 (of 675) radio sites will be constructed and brought online delivering full state coverage”.
“Network land coverage will increase from 47 percent to 85 percent of NSW and an increase in coverage of the state’s population from 96 percent to 99.7 percent,” the documents state.