Mobile broadband communications for Australian public safety

Friday, 20 April, 2012

The Gillard Government should commit to mobile broadband communications for public safety agencies in Australia, said Police Federation of Australia president Vince Kelly, at an Emergency Management Conference in Brisbane.

“It is essential that the federal government and the Opposition agree to make 21st-century communications a reality for police and emergency services. US President Obama has stated that an 18-year-old with a smartphone has more advanced communications capability than a police officer carrying a two-way radio. The tragedy of 9/11 clearly demonstrated how vital 21st-century tools are for police officers and other emergency workers.

“President Obama is moving to ensure a national system of mobile broadband communications for police and public safety agencies across the USA. In November 2011, an Australian Senate Communications Committee unanimously recommended that dedicated radio spectrum be reserved for Australia’s police and emergency services - a recommendation supported by the Australian Radio Communications Industry Association and all Australian police commissioners.

“An allocation of dedicated radio spectrum by the Federal Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, would allow public safety agencies in Australia to do these things more effectively. Dedicated radio spectrum is critical to police and emergency service workers in keeping Australians safe in times of natural disaster and to better protect life and property. The current situation is not acceptable to Australia’s 55,000 police officers, and the firefighters, ambulance officers and SES officers in every state and territory,” he said.

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