Queensland SES to transition to GWN
South-east Queensland’s State Emergency Service (SES) groups will soon have access to enhanced communication capabilities, under a $15 million Palaszczuk government 2018–19 Budget investment.
Fire and Emergency Services Minister Craig Crawford today announced that 79 SES groups will transition to radios on the Government Wireless Network (GWN).
Crawford said the funding was included in Queensland Fire and Emergency Services’ (QFES) record $702 million 2018–19 budget.
He said SES groups — from the border with New South Wales, out to Toowoomba and north to Gympie — will transition to the GWN over the next two years.
“Firefighters, police and paramedics are already using the GWN, which is a secure digital communication network that allows multiple agencies to operate on a single channel,” Crawford said.
“We’ve seen the benefits of GWN-equipped radios due to increased coverage and reduced communication black spots, and I’m pleased to see the SES will begin using the network.
“This substantial investment means the SES will be able to fully integrate with other agencies during incidents, ensuring all of our fire and emergency services are operating from a single communication network.
“We ask a lot of our SES in times of need, so it is only right the Palaszczuk government provides the support they need to keep Queenslanders safe,” Crawford said.
QFES Deputy Commissioner Mike Wassing said streamlining interagency communication was essential for the SES, as groups were often tasked to assist other agencies.
“Placing emergency services on a single channel will further assist with communication and coordination of resources and give responders greater visibility of an incident,” he said.
Wassing said GWN radios included important safety measures to protect QFES personnel.
“At any time, someone using a GWN-enabled radio can press what is known as a duress button to call for help,” he said.
“This will put them in direct contact with our central communication centre and alert others on the GWN network, giving QFES greater capability to provide immediate aid and support when needed.”
Wassing said the GWN had built-in protections to ensure only fire and emergency service personnel could use the network.
“The GWN provides end-to-end encryption to stop third parties tuning in to the channel,” he said. “This prevents interruptions and privacy breaches, while ensuring responders can focus on the task of keeping the public safe.”
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