University of Melbourne CDMPS submission to the Bushfires Royal Commission

The following is a brief overview of the very comprehensive 40-page joint submission document. The overview covers the Introduction, Purpose and Recommendations and the Conclusion with regards to the joint submission by  University of Melbourne Centre for Disaster Management & Public Safety (CDMPS) and partners – to the Commonwealth Royal Commission into the natural disasters of this past summer, more commonly known as the Bushfires Royal Commission. The submission was compiled by Geoff Spring, Senior Industry Advisory, Centre for Disaster Management and Public Safety (CDMPS), Melbourne University for compiling the submission. 

The submission was In conjunction with the following partners

  • Australian Radio Communications Industry Association (ARCIA)
  • Australasian Critical Communications Forum (ACCF)
  • International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE)
  • Australian Control Room Network Association (ACRNA)

This in the context of the partners’ respective roles in the critical communications industry and in particular the Mission Critical Communications Ecosystem both routinely in public protection and safety and response in times of natural disasters and pandemic such as we are experiencing at the present time. 

The submission encompasses many other topics not covered in this summary, and you are encouraged to read it in full — it can be found at https://arcia.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/submission-to-the-federal-goverments-royal-commission-into-australias-national-natural-disaster-arrangements-composite.pdf or contact admin@criticalcommsforum.com.au

ACCF trust that the outcomes from the Government’s Royal Commission into Australia’s National Natural Disaster Arrangements together with the respective Inquiries by Australian State and Territory Governments into the 2019-20 Bushfires will contribute to the outcomes and recommendations arising from a series of similar Inquiries and other Commonwealth Government and Departmental consultative initiatives over the past decade – that have contributed to the production of a large body of knowledge about the Ecosystem particularly in regards to mission critical and interoperable narrowband and broadband radio technologies.

The ACCF thanks Geoff Spring, Senior Industry Advisory, Centre for Disaster Management and Public Safety (CDMPS), Melbourne University for compiling the submission. 

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Submission to the Commonwealth Government’s Royal Commission into Australia’s National Natural Disaster Arrangements – 28 April 2020

1.0 Introduction

The University of Melbourne’s Centre for Disaster Management and Public Safety (CDMPS) in conjunction with the following partners welcomes the opportunity to provide this Submission in response to theCommonwealthGovernment’s Royal Commission into Australia’s National Natural Disaster Arrangements:

This Submission is made by the partners in the context of their respective roles in the critical communications sector and in particular the mission critical (public safety) communications Ecosystem (the Ecosystem) and the role it performs both routinely and in times of natural disasters and pandemic such as we are experiencing at the present time. 

This Ecosystem underpins the capacity and capability of Australia’s Public Safety Agencies (PSAs) and their First Responders to keep Australians and their communities’ safe by delivering exceptional public safety outcomes in terms of enhanced community safety resilience and decision making.

In this Submission the Ecosystem is considered to comprise the following components:

  • The Triple Zero service
  • Public Safety Agency Communication Centres
  • Radio – Wireless networks
  • Interfaces
  • Spectrum
  • Standards
  • Human Resources

The outcomes from this Royal Commission together with the respective Inquiries by Australian State and Territory Governments into the 2019-20 Bushfires will contribute to the outcomes and recommendations arising from a series of similar Inquiries and other Commonwealth Government and Departmental consultative initiatives over the past decade – Submissions to which have contributed to the production of a large body of knowledge about the Ecosystem.

The preparation of this Submission has drawn upon this body of knowledge and information in the public domain as well as the global network of government bodies, public safety agencies, associations and industry bodies developed by the partners.

This Submission also notes the Terms of Reference for the Royal Commission and the Inquiries by Australian State and Territory Governments are either directly or indirectly based upon the traditional Prevention, Preparedness, Response and Recovery (PPRR) model used in Australian emergency management coupled with the more contemporary component of Resilience.

SectionTable of ContentsPage No
   
1.0Introduction3
2.0Purpose and Recommendations4
3.0Governance Administration and Strategy5
4.0Policy Decisions – Previous and Current8
4.1National Disaster Risk Reduction Framework14
5.0Critical Infrastructure15
6.0Australia’s Mission Critical (Public Safety) Communications Ecosystem16
7.0The Public Safety Communications Sector18
8.0The Future for the Ecosystem18
8.13 Digit Call Answering Centres18
8.2Public Safety Agency Communications Centres19
8.3Public Safety Wireless Networks20
8.4Public Safety Land Mobile Radio20
8.5Public Safety Mobile Broadband23
8.5.1Standards Development for PSMB23
8.5.2Productivity Commissions Report into Public Safety Mobile Broadband24
8.5.3COAG Support for PSMB and  Current Status of PSMB25
9.0Spectrum29
9.1Dedicated Public Safety Spectrum30
10.0Standards and Interoperability31
10.1Standards31
10.2Coverage32
10.3Electricity33
10.4Implications for other key Community Service Delivery industries34
10.5Service Industry – Control and Communication Centres34
10.5Interoperability34
11.0Future Demand36
11.1Public Safety Internet of Things37
11.2Spatial Data Infrastructure38
12.0Training and Networking39
13.0Conclusion40
   

2.0 Purpose and Recommendations

The purpose of this Submission is twofold:

  • Highlight policy decisions already taken by the Australian Government and implemented through legislation or through the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) to initiate action across a range of initiatives that will require the Ecosystem to provide operational support to Departments and Agencies at Federal, State and Territory levels of government to achieve the expected policy outcomes;
  • Build upon and reinforce previous recommendations made to the Australian Government through its Committee structure, Departments and Agencies to continue to raise the profile, understanding and awareness of the Ecosystem to the benefit of all Australians;

And by doing so make the following recommendations to the Commission:

  • The Australian Government formally recognise in legislation Australia’s mission critical (public safety) communications Ecosystem as Critical Infrastructure;
  • The Australian Government formally recognise in legislation the role of the Ecosystem in providing an essential service to Australia’s Public Safety Agencies supported by specialist industries and supply chains functioning efficiently and competitively in an international standards based public safety market.
  • The Australian Government provide a legislative, regulatory, governance and administrative framework within a federated national model to facilitate; the seamless operation of the Ecosystem; enabling its effective contribution to the delivery of public safety outcomes meeting the expectations of all Australians; while protecting the health and wellbeing of Australia’s First Responder community[8].
  • The Australian Government initiates the development of a whole of Ecosystem RoadMap underpinned by a systems approach for use in consultative processes with Key Stakeholders facilitating the transparent monitoring and reporting of the evolution of the Ecosystem.
  • The Australian Government initiate a national “Fit for Purpose” assessment of existing Public Safety Agency Communications Centres for both current and future connectivity with; the Next Generation Triple Zero Call Service; existing and planned Land Mobile Radio (LMR) networks; and the proposed Public Safety Mobile Broadband (PSMB) capability including both intra State/Territory and cross border interoperability.

In making these recommendations to the Commission it is recognised that there will be significant hurdles to be overcome in the co-ordination of the consideration of the recommendations across the many channels of bureaucracy at Federal and State/Territory level however in the era of reform coming out of the current pandemic crisis and in the context of the need for preparation for the 2020 – 21 and future Fire Seasons there should be an attempt to capture this significant opportunity………..

13.0        Conclusion

It is believed that the content of this Submission has provided evidence to support its stated purpose: 

  • Highlight policy decisions already taken by the Australian Government and implemented through legislation or through the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) to initiate action across a range of initiatives that will require the Ecosystem to provide operational support to Departments and Agencies at Federal, State and Territory levels of government to achieve the expected policy outcomes;
  • Build upon and reinforce previous recommendations made to the Australian Government through its Committee structure, Departments and Agencies to continue to raise the profile, understanding and awareness of the Ecosystem to the benefit of all Australians:

The Submission has also provided evidence to support the recommendations made to the Commission regarding actions the Australian Government should take to strengthen Australia’s National Natural Disaster Arrangements and provided advice about both short term and long term initiatives in support of these recommendations.

The University of Melbourne Centre for Disaster Management and Public Safety and its Partners in the preparation of this Submission would appreciate the opportunity to discuss the evidence presented with the Commission.

For further information about this Submission or its content please contact:

Geoff Spring, Senior Industry Advisor, Center for Disaster Management & Public Safety, The University of Melbourne.

Mob: 0411 130 184, E-Mail: geoff.spring@unimelb.edu.au