Premier Colin Barnett has unveiled a $120million plan to deliver improved mobile telephone and emergency service coverage to regional Western Australia.
Following today’s State Cabinet meeting in Kalgoorlie-Boulder, the Premier, along with Regional Development Minister Brendon Grylls, Police and Emergency Services Minister Rob Johnson and Commerce Minister Bill Marmion, announced the Royalties for Regions funding that would deliver two essential regional communications projects.
Mr Barnett said the building of communication towers and upgrading of services in strategic areas of the State would dramatically improve mobile phone coverage as well as emergency services for WA Police and the Fire and Emergency Services Authority (FESA).
“Anyone living or travelling in regional Western Australia understands the frustration of trying to use a mobile phone in dead spots,” the Premier said.
Mr Grylls said the project was announced in the 2010-11 State Budget and tenders would now be sought for both projects so they could start as soon as possible.
“Priority areas under consideration include the Pilbara, Mid-West, Gascoyne, Kimberley and Wheatbelt regions and benefits will also extend to the Goldfields-Esperance, Great Southern, Peel and South-West regions,” Mr Grylls said.
“$40million will go towards eliminating phone black spots, while the remaining $80million will be spent on improving communications for police and emergency services.”
Mr Johnson said the $80million Community Safety Network Project would replace the current police regional radio network with a purpose-built, secure and reliable radio communications network that would allow police and other emergency services to better serve regional WA.
“The present regional radio network is obsolete and does not meet the needs of our police and emergency service officers in dealing with calls for assistance from the public,” Mr Johnson said.
“The new network will ensure that WA Police and FESA have access to a secure and reliable network, significantly improving the ability of police and fire officers to communicate during an emergency or incident.”
Mr Marmion said the work undertaken for this project would provide an expanded communications network infrastructure platform in regional WA to enable access by other Government, non-government and commercial carriers to improve service delivery.
“These regional communications projects represent a significant investment by the State Government to ensure everyone in Western Australia benefits from improved telecommunications,” Mr Marmion said.
Regional Development Minister's office - 9213 7000
Police and Emergency Services Minister’s office - 9222 9211
Commerce Minister’s office - 9222 9111