31 October 2022

New satellite back-ups to reduce the impact of natural disasters on South Coast

| Katrina Condie
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Rod Feltham and Fiona Phillips

Ulladulla SES Deputy Commander Rod Feltham and MP Fiona Phillips welcome the new back-up satellite infrastructure. Photo: Fiona Phillips.

Sky Muster satellite services will be deployed at emergency service depots and community evacuation centres across the South Coast to provide back-up and alternative communications facilities during natural disasters.

Back-up services will be installed at the Batemans Bay Community Hub, Ulladulla and Moruya SES units, Batemans Bay, Moruya and Shoalhaven RFS Units, as well as the Mogo RFS Training Centre.

The improved telecommunications systems will allow emergency services to remain connected through nbn’s Sky Muster satellite services when land-based networks are disrupted or offline. Evacuated residents at community centres can also remain connected to family and friends during natural disasters.

SES Eurobodalla local commander Mike Day welcomed the new service.

“NSW SES Incident Command Centres (ICCs) rely on being able to provide volunteers and partner agencies with the most up-to-date information possible,” he said.

“The Sky Muster satellite services allow these ICCs to remain connected when regular wired nbn services experience outages, increasing safety for volunteers and allowing messaging to local communities to continue.

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“During the Black Summer fire season, we supported the NSW Rural Fire Service as best we could with the communication methods we had available.

“This enhancement will boost our capability and make life easier during all natural disasters.”

Member for Gilmore Fiona Phillips said the systems, being delivered as part of the Australian Government’s Strengthening Telecommunications Against Natural Disasters (STAND) program, would provide more resilient communications infrastructure to keep local people safe and informed.

“During the 2019-20 bushfires, we saw how essential communications are – and how disastrous it can be when they go out,” Mrs Phillips said.

“Improving local communications has been one of my top priorities and these projects are a major boost for communities across Gilmore.

“They come off the back of nine other satellites that have been delivered across the South Coast in places like Kangaroo Valley, Milton and Sussex Inlet.

“It will help ensure we minimise the risk of local communications network disruptions when natural disasters strike.”

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Minister for Communications Michelle Rowland said the Albanese Government was committed to delivering the investments and infrastructure that local communities needed to be better prepared for natural disasters.

“These projects across Gilmore are among 1065 delivered so far under the program, with the remaining projects to be completed by November 2022,” she said.

“While no network can ever be 100 per cent disaster-proof, these investments will go a long way towards ensuring local residents can stay connected in the most difficult times, especially to access potentially lifesaving information and advice.”

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