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Australia’s first responders are now one step closer to improved communications during an emergency, following the establishment of the Public Safety Mobile Broadband (PSMB) Taskforce.

The announcement of the Taskforce comes ahead of the National Bushfire Summit, being held in Canberra today (Monday).

The PSMB Taskforce will be responsible for laying the groundwork for the long-term public safety communications infrastructure, prioritising the partnerships with state and territory governments to ensure they have a voice in its design.

It will also create the framework that drives the delivery of the PSMB to Public Safety Agencies nationally.

Currently, public safety agencies rely on land mobile radio networks for their communication needs.

These have limited data services, and in many instances, are not enabled for cross-border or cross-organisational communications.

The PSMB will provide fast and secure voice, video and data communications specifically for emergency services, such as fire, ambulance and police.

Minister for Emergency Management, Murray Watt said the PSMB would mean improved communications across the different services and geographic boundaries, and therefore a more coordinated response.

“In the May budget the Australian Government committed $10.1 million from the 2023-24 Federal Budget to establish and fund the operations of the Taskforce over the next two years,” Minister Watt said.

“The Taskforce’s establishment is a landmark step towards making the PSMB a reality, something that emergency services have been requesting for a long time.

“This is a project that has been recommended for years, but has only progressed since the election of the Albanese Government

“The Taskforce will establish working groups with representatives from all states and territories, whose ideas and contributions will be critical to the design of the PSMB.

“This milestone also ticks off one of the Australian Government’s commitments to supporting the recommendations from the Royal Commission into Natural Disaster Arrangements, as well as numerous other Royal Commissions calling for the delivery of a PSMB capability.”

Minister for Communications, Michelle Rowland said the Government’s investments in emergency and public safety communications will help save lives.

“Ensuring our heroic first responders have access to reliable communications services during emergencies is critical to keeping Australians safe,” Minister Rowland said.

“A PSMB capability will enhance Australia’s ability to manage emergencies, hazards and threats by giving emergency services agencies access to data-rich, reliable and modern communications technologies.

“The establishment of the Taskforce means we’re a step closer to developing the critical public safety communications infrastructure our first responders need to more effectively respond to emergencies”.

The Taskforce is led by the Australian Government through the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and will be supported by other Australian Government bodies, including the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts, as well as state and territory government agencies.

This release was originally published on the Ministers for the Department of Home Affairs' website.