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Better communications to keep South East safer during disasters

May 10, 2023 6:28 am in by

Eden-Monaro and Gilmore will be better prepared to respond to future natural disasters thanks to an upgrade to emergency warnings and alerts, as well as improved communication for first responders, that will be rolled out through the Albanese Government’s Federal Budget.

The Government is rolling out a new National Messaging System (NMS) which will use state-of-the-art technology to significantly enhance how emergency messages are delivered to mobile devices during a crisis or emergency event, in near real time.

Drawing on technology currently used overseas, the speed and effectiveness of the NMS will substantially improve Australia’s ability to send prioritised warnings from trusted sources, to prevent the loss of life, injury, damage to property, and mitigate the spread of misinformation during disasters.

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Near instant access to data, images and information in critical situations will be enabled along with real time, data-rich analytics, situational awareness and cross-border communications between, for example, ground crews, aerial assets and incident control centres.

The new technology will allow Governments to send messages in English and a second language, in order to provide accurate, official information to multicultural communities, helping them to understand the risks and make appropriate decisions about their personal safety.

It is anticipated that the NMS will be designed, built and tested over the next 18 months, becoming operational by late 2024.

The Albanese Government has also committed $10.1 million to establish a central Taskforce to drive the delivery of a Public Safety Mobile Broadband (PSMB) capability.

The PSMB was a key recommendation of the 2020 Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements.

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Minister for Regional Development, Local Government and Territories, and Member for Eden-Monaro, Kristy McBain said the change would support the coordination of responses across organisational and state and territory boundaries, as well as enhance the ability of authorities to manage emergencies, hazards and threats.

“Since 2016 there have been 35 declared natural disaster events in the Eden-Monaro, including bushfires, severe storms and floods – and during many of these events, we were totally disconnected from the critical safety information we needed,” Ms McBain said.

“We know that during a disaster every second is critical, which is why we are giving residents and first responders in Eden-Monaro more warning, to help keep them safe from harm and to mitigate damage to property,” she said.

“Our investment in an enhanced mobile broadband service will provide Public Safety Agencies and first responders with fast and secure voice, video and data communications.

Image: Kristy McBain

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