Mil­lions spent on out­side help but ra­dio net­work years away

Mercury (Hobart) - - FRONT PAGE - BLAIR RICHARDS

NEARLY $5 mil­lion has been spent on con­sul­tants to bring in a statewide ra­dio sys­tem — which is still un­de­liv­ered af­ter the 2013 bush­fires.

THE State Gov­ern­ment has spent more than $5 mil­lion on con­sul­tants over the past two years in an ef­fort to give the state’s emer­gency ser­vices a sin­gle ra­dio net­work.

An in­te­grated net­work was promised in 2008, with ur­gency around the project grow­ing fol­low­ing the 2013 Du­nal­ley bush­fires.

Re­ports on the bush­fires found Tas­ma­nia po­lice and fire­fight­ers were un­able to com­mu­ni­cate dur­ing the emer­gency be­cause ra­dio sys­tems were in­com­pat­i­ble.

The new net­work will cover the emer­gency ser­vices, as well as Sus­tain­able Tim­ber Tas­ma­nia, the Parks and Wildlife Ser­vice, TasNet­works and Hy­dro Tas­ma­nia. It was ini­tially hoped the multi-agency net­work would be up and run­ning by 2020. The start date is now some time in 2021.

Over the past two fi­nan­cial years six con­sul­tants have won ten­ders to help get the project over the line, at a to­tal cost of more than $5 mil­lion.

Con­sul­tan­cies in­cluded $2.627 mil­lion to Min­gara Aus­tralia for tech­ni­cal ser­vices, $1.497 to Deloitte for com­mer­cial ser­vices and $755,000 has been spent on lawyers.

Tas­ma­nia Po­lice Deputy Com­mis­sioner Scott Til­yard said the project rep­re­sented a sig­nif­i­cant un­der­tak­ing for the state with the con­sol­i­da­tion of eight user or­gan­i­sa­tions to a sin­gle net­work.

“The steer­ing com­mit­tee which in­cor­po­rates rep­re­sen­ta­tives from all or­gan­i­sa­tions and cen­tral gov­ern­ment has en­dorsed three key con­sul­tan­cies be­ing en­gaged to en­sure that in line with par­lia­men­tary rec­om­men­da­tions the out­come of the TasGRN is a net­work which meets the busi­ness re­quire­ments of all user or­gan­i­sa­tions,” Deputy Com­mis­sioner Til­yard said.

He said the net­work build was due to start in 2020 with users to be­gin mov­ing across to the net­work in 2021.

Op­po­si­tion spokesman for Po­lice, Fire and Emer­gency Man­age­ment Jen But­ler said the State Gov­ern­ment had been slow to progress the ra­dio net­work.

“This is just an­other ex­am­ple of the Hodg­man mi­nor­ity gov­ern­ment spend­ing mil­lions of dol­lars on con­sul­tants with no real re­sult.”

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