Tasmanian Government emergency services radio communications have been heavily criticised by the State’s Auditor General.
The Audit report released on 8 May 2014 states that “Emergencies in recent times have highlighted gaps in interoperability between our radio communications networks and instances of their lack of security and confidentiality. This performance audit confirmed existence of these difficulties and highlighted others such as the lack of reliability standards making monitoring difficult, lack of strategy, duplication of infrastructure and lack of clarity regarding operating costs”, Auditor-General Mike Blake stated in his Foreword to the Government Radio Communications Report.
Little real progress has been achieved with the Whole of Government radio network project (WoG Network), according to the Audit. This project, led by a joint Department of Police and Emergency Management (DPEM) project team to rationalise the existing network, improve service quality and making cost savings, commenced in 2006.
Blake recommended that “Government considers the establishment of a separate unit to implement and operate a WoG network if existing stakeholders fail to make significant progress toward an agreed WoG solution”.
Four separate networks currently operate in Tasmania: one each by Tasmania Police; the State Emergency Services; Tasmania Fire Service (together with) Ambulance Tasmania; and the Forestry and Parks and Wildlife Services. The vision for the WoG Network follows a Council of Australian Governments (COAG) recommendation that single WoG digital networks across Australia be established by 2018. This recommendation was embraced in the Tasmanian ICT Strategy which states that “by 2017 there will be an integrated dispatch and communications network for Tasmanian emergency services”.
The Audit found that “There was a lack of strategic planning evident in the current networks... None of the present Tasmanian networks comply with foreshadowed COAG and ACMA requirements.”
The two major projects implemented by DPEM to upgrade the existing Tasmania Police/Tasmanian Electricity Supply Industry (TESI) network so it is compatible with any future WoG network have cost over $29 million.
Intermedium has previously reported that the Tasmanian ICT Policy Board had agreed to fund planning work on a Computer Aided Dispatch System for the DPEM out of its $28 million ICT Project Fund.