A new telecommunications system to improve the crisis co-ordination capacity of Western Australia’s rural and remote health and emergency service organisations was launched in Bunbury today.
Bush Medivac WA will use terrestrial and non-terrestrial network infrastructure and innovative applications of broadband technology to improve the voice and data communication capabilities between the State’s regional health and emergency services.
It will be invaluable in emergency situations hampered by a lack of communication and isolation.
WA Industry and Enterprise Minister Francis Logan and Federal Broadband, Communications and Digital Economy Minister Stephen Conroy launched the project at Bunbury Hospital.
“WA is the largest State in Australia and our population is widely dispersed and separated by long distances,” Mr Logan said.
“Bush Medivac WA will address the barrier of distance and improve the delivery of health and emergency services for 454,000 Western Australians, across an area of 2.55 million square kilometres.”
Bush Medivac WA is being funded as part of the Federal Government’s $9.3million Clever Networks Program.
Senator Conroy said Bush Medivac WA highlighted the Federal Government’s commitment to deliver productivity and life-changing capabilities to the most remote citizens and communities using broadband.
“The Bush Medivac WA project will deliver improved emergency and health services to Australians living in regional and remote areas by providing state-of-the-art terrestrial and non-terrestrial broadband network infrastructure,” the Senator said.
Mr Logan said public health and safety were particularly important issues in the lives of residents and businesses in isolated communities.
“Rural communities also have a high level of local participation through volunteer emergency service workers and health aides and rely on partnerships with State and local government agencies to access the relevant tools and technologies to do the job,” he said.
“Bush Medivac WA will allow these workers to deliver enhanced health and emergency services more efficiently and safely, and it will also extend their operational reach into the more remote areas of our massive State.”
South-West MLC Adele Farina said that communities in the South-West region would welcome the Bush Medivac WA system.
“Past emergencies in the South-West, such as the 2003 Bridgetown bushfires, highlighted the need for a comprehensive emergency communications system across rural areas,” Ms Farina said.
“Bush Medivac WA will fill that vital need and I congratulate the Carpenter and Rudd Governments on taking the project forward.”
Work on Bush Medivac WA is expected to be finished by June 2010. It is being developed by the WA Department of Industry and Resources in partnership with the Department of Health’s WA Country Health Service, the Department of Environment and Conservation, St John Ambulance Australia, Surf Life Saving WA and the Royal Flying Doctor Service.
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