news The Queensland State Government announced yesterday that the nation’s largest telco Telstra would design, build, operate and maintain a new statewide wireless network to be used by public safety agencies such as Queensland Police, at a total cost of $457.3 million over the next 15 years.
The deal was announced in a statement yesterday by Premier Campbell Newman and Treasurer Tim Nicholls. “This system should have been delivered a decade ago but the previous government was not focussed on the frontline services provided by our public safety agencies,” Nicholls said. “We’ve allocated $56.7 million in the 2013-14 Budget to get this project underway. This network will have far-reaching and long lasting benefits for community safety by modernising radio communications.”
Newman said the so-called Government Wireless Network would initially be rolled out to Brisbane, the Gold Coast and Cairns to support next year’s G20 meetings.
“The G20 meetings require a secure communications network to host State and Commonwealth agencies and international security forces,” Newman said. “It will then be rolled out to the rest of the South-East in time for the 2018 Commonwealth Games. There’s also the potential to eventually extend the system to cover the rest of the State.”
Minister for Police and Community Safety Jack Dempsey said the GWN would ensure emergency services were better prepared for future disasters or emergencies. “For police, fire and ambulance officers in the GWN service areas, there will be clearer radio communication and better coverage at key public locations,” Dempsey said. “It’s designed to reduce emergency response times by providing seamless interconnectivity between the agencies. It will also improve officer safety by providing for GPS enabled duress alarms and officer down alarms.
Minister for Science, Information Technology Innovation and the Arts Ian Walker will oversee the implementation of the new system. “Our existing analogue technology is ageing, has limited capacity and can’t be used across agencies,” Walker said. “The GWN will improve the way different components of the system work between our critical first responders and with interstate and Commonwealth public safety and law enforcement agencies.”
Mr Nicholls said Telstra and its major subcontractor Motorola would now work closely with the Government to start the detailed design and build of the network under a managed services agreement. “It’s another great example of Projects Queensland working with the private sector to deliver cost effective services for Queenslanders through innovative partnerships,” he said. Work on the GWN is expected to begin later this year.