Vic Budget rolls $150m in digital radio upgrades

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Vic Budget rolls $150m in digital radio upgrades

2019 budget focuses on transport, justice and education IT.

The Victoria government will spend $83 million over the next two years upgrading the digital train radio system used across Melbourne’s metropolitan train network

The funding, revealed in the 2019-20 state budget handed down today, will allow the newly established Department of Transport to replace ageing equipment critical to the operation of the Metro network.

The government said the new system would enable to train drivers to communicate crucial information about the status of a service such as accidents or illnesses on a train to increase safety and minimise delays.

The budget also provides $70.6 million for the Department of Justice and Community Safety to upgrade Ambulance Victoria’s existing analogue radio communications system over the next four years.

The new state-wide encrypted digital radio system for paramedics will allow Ambulance Victoria to join counterparts Victoria Police and the Victoria State Emergency Service, which completed their switch to digital networks last November after receiving funding in the 2015 state budget.

“This critical upgrade, coordinated by Emergency Management Victoria, will improve community safety and health outcomes by enabling Ambulance Victoria to communicate more securely and respond more effectively to incidents,” budget papers state.

Elsewhere in the budget, the Department of Education and Training (DET) will receive $25.4 million over four years to continue support for a suite of centrally procured educational software for government secondary schools.

Schools will also receive just over $4 million in 2019-20 to “maintain frontline IT service delivery” to ensure “onsite technical support and school digital connectivity is fast and reliable for students and teachers”.

A further $18.5 million will be provided to DET in 2019-20 to begin planning and progressively establish the Child Link register – a digital platform for the sharing data to improve child wellbeing and safety.

The Department of Health and Human Services will receive $13 million for a “clinical technology refresh”, which it will use to upgrade technical infrastructure supporting “diagnostic imaging, patient management systems and electronic medical records” next year.

“This will improve operational stability of the delivery of information related to patient diagnostics and other clinical services to the point-of-care and enhance cyber security,” budget papers state.

Court Services Victoria and the DJCS will receive $12.4 million to introduce further audio-visual link technology in 28 Magistrates’ Courts and 26 police stations.

It is expected that this will “reduce the need to transfer prisoners for appearances in court”.

Other measures funding in the budget for 2019-20 include:

  • $5.4 million in additional funding for DJCS to support the upgrade of the national telephone warning system, Emergency Alert
  • $4.6 million to replace and upgrade intelligent transport systems on Victoria’ arterial road
  • $3.6 million for the Department of Premier and Cabinet to increase and improve sources of government information provided through social media and to enhance policy and service design through data analytics
  • $3.5 million for the further development of technical specifications for Melbourne’s new ram automatic vehicle monitoring system, which will provide real-time information and improve reliability
  • A portion of $2.5 million for the DJCS’s to upgrade the IT system of the Office of the Chief Parliamentary Counsel
  • $1.7 million for the DJCS’s Crime Statistics Agency to maintain the Victorian Family Violence Database
  • A portion of $1.8 million for the Victorian Inspectorate to upgrade its security of its IT systems
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