The NSW Government has delivered 200 new and enhanced Public Safety Network (PSN) radio sites, increasing mission-critical communications coverage for first responders.

Next to Australia’s triple zero emergency hotline, the PSN is the most critical communications network in NSW, providing infrastructure enabling emergency services to communicate over a single, encrypted integrated network.

A total of six sites have been completed in the Cootamundra electorate including three over the past two months in the Hilltops Council area at Young, Boorowa and Berremangra Hill. Nine more sites are currently under construction in the region with plans for additional sites already well underway.

Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke stressed the importance of high-quality communications infrastructure in the region.

“Given the rural and remote location of many of our towns and villages, it is important that our first responders can communicate effectively no matter where they are,” Ms Cooke said.

“This increase in coverage will allow critical information to be exchanged by our first responder’s as they travel the often long distances to assist in emergencies around our region.”

Minister for Digital and Customer Service Victor Dominello said achieving the 200-site milestone meant the PSN would now provide coverage across an area greater than 342,000 km², or 42 per cent of the State, and reach 96 per cent of the population.  

“This once-in-a-generation investment in radio communications infrastructure is about saving lives,” Mr Dominello said.

“During an emergency, every second counts. By expanding the PSN, we are providing emergency services with the tools, to not only to do their job when and where they need to but also keep them safe.

“It is good news for the community and for our first responders who go to work every day to protect the people and places of NSW.”

Mr Dominello said by consolidating multiple separate agency radio networks, the Critical Communications Enhancement Program (CCEP) would provide a more efficient, resilient PSN for our first responders.

“I would like to thank NSW Police, Fire and Rescue NSW, NSW Ambulance, the Rural Fire Service and the State Emergency Service for their continued support and partnership in delivering the new and enhanced PSN sites,” Mr Dominello said.

Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott said that every initiative which improves the communications technology available for our emergency services personnel is a good one.

“Many of the locations which have received a new or enhanced radio site were impacted by the ‘Black Summer’ of bush fires, and saw our firefighters experience compromised communication networks, risking their safety,” he said.

“This critical work complements the NSW Government’s half a billion dollar response to the NSW Bushfire Inquiry recommendations and will improve the safety of our firefighters and mitigate bush fire risk.”

This milestone marks the completion of close to one-third of the 675 sites under the $1.4 billion CCEP being delivered by NSW Telco Authority.