Government radio networks in Australia
The Government Radio Network (GRN) is a network of various systems in place across Australia that enable statewide trunked radio communication. The network operates through inter-linked sites for government and public services such as police, ambulance, fire, or roads authorities which require such a system to function properly. The main aim of the GRN is to consolidate all resources into one network, ensuring greater coverage and reliability than if each department had its own independent communication system. The existence of the GRN also reduces the amount of government money and resources needed to maintain communication between units of emergency and public service branches. Last, it allows effective intercommunication among these services in times of national or state emergency for coordination of wide-scale actions.
Australian Capital Territory Radio Network (TRN)
The Australian Capital Territory Radio Network (commonly referred to as the TRN) is a trunked radio system operating in the Australian Capital Territory, Australia. The network was introduced in 2004, and provides 100% coverage of the ACT. The network is used by ACT Emergency Services Agencies (ESA) and other ACT Government agencies including ACTION buses, TAMS (Territory and Municipal Services), ACT Health and Roads ACT.
The network is part of the NSW GRN, and is controlled and maintained as part of that network. It is managed separately by the ACT Government.
New South Wales Government Radio Network (NSW GRN)
The New South Wales Government Radio Network (commonly referred to as the NSW GRN), also known as the Public Safety Network (PSN) is a trunked radio system operating in the state of New South Wales, Australia. Established in 1993, the network was the first government trunked radio network in Australia and is one of the largest in the world. The NSW GRN covers more than 80% of New South Wales and approximately 96% of the urban population. The network is owned by the NSW Government through the NSW Telco Authority and the network's operations are managed under contract.
The network is used by all NSW and ACT emergency services in varying capacities, along with other agencies, departments, services, and non-government organisations, including:
- Fire and Rescue NSW
- NSW Ambulance
- NSW Rural Fire Service
- NSW State Emergency Service
- NSW Police Force
- ACT Emergency Services
- Department of Attorney General and Justice
- Roads and Maritime Services (formally Roads & Traffic Authority and NSW Maritime)
- Sydney Ferries
- Department of Corrective Services
- NSW Department of Juvenile Justice
- National Parks and Wildlife Service
- Endeavour Energy
- Hunter Water Corporation
- Sydney Water
- Property NSW
- Sydney Ports Corporation
- Central Tablelands County Councils
- Sutherland Shire Council
- Child Flight
- Australian Broadcasting Corporation
- Chevra Hatzolah (Jewish Community sponsored and staffed medical response)
The network is also used by other government departments and discrete law enforcement agencies.
The network is a digital 9600 bps Project 25 (commonly referred to as P25 or APCO-25) Phase 2 trunked radio system operating in the UHF band between 403 MHz and 430 MHz in 12.5 kHz steps. End user equipment is supplied mostly by Motorola, and consists primarily of the APX series mobile and portable two-way radios, the XTL series mobile and XTS series portable radios (although Benelec, Tait Communications and Simoco radios are also authorised for use). Encryption is supported and used by some agencies on the network.
Northern Territory Emergency Services Trunk Network (NTESTN)
The Northern Territory Emergency Services Trunk Network is a trunked radio system operating in the Northern Territory, Australia. The network is a digital Project 25 Phase 1 trunked radio system operating in the lower UHF band.
Queensland Government Wireless Network (GWN)
The Queensland Government Wireless Network (referred to as the GWN) is a trunked radio system operating in the state of Queensland, Australia. The network was built and is currently managed by Telstra under contract. The network commenced operation in 2014, and was operational for the 2014 G20 summit in Cairns. Following that event, the network was re-purposed and is now the main communications network for emergency services in South East Queensland.
The network provides secure radio communications for Queensland's public safety agencies. These users include:
- Queensland Ambulance Service
- Queensland Fire and Emergency Services
- Queensland Police Service
- Queensland State Emergency Service
The network is a digital Project 25 (known as P25 or APCO-25) Phase 2 trunked radio system operating in the UHF band. End user equipment is supplied by Motorola. Encryption is used by all network users.
South Australia Government Radio Network (SAGRN)
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The South Australian Government Radio Network is a trunked radio network usually using Motorola APCO-P25. In essence this is a system of interconnected repeater sites, mobile (vehicle mounted), portable and static radio transceivers used within Australia for radio communications.
The system is employed in South Australia by Country Fire Service, Metropolitan Fire Service, Ambulance Service, State Emergency Service, Department of Fisheries, Volunteer Marine Rescue, Department of Transport, St John Ambulance. It is in use in several other government agencies, as well as some private companies.
Frequencies are allocated dynamically to each TalkGroup (a group of authorised, connected radios) as required and are only activated in areas which contain radios belonging to that TalkGroup. The network also has Multi-Agency TalkGroups that allow the different services to be able to talk to each other during mass emergencies, major events or whenever is needed.
The SAGRN data network is also used by the South Australian Police for their in-vehicle mobile data terminals.
The SAGRN also has a statewide paging network.
All radio communications frequencies are subject to licensing by the ACMA. Those licensed to the GRN are outside of the Citizen's band, and as such are relatively secure from casual interference, although they can be monitored by scanners (requiring a trunk or trunking scanner).
Equipment and features
The current voice equipment is supplied by Motorola.
It is possible to disable a lost or stolen radio remotely through an 'inhibit' feature. If the radio is on, the inhibit command will block the radio's use. Only Motorola, the vendor, can re-enable.
In 2010, Motorola entered into a contract with the South Australian Government to support the SAGRN. Prior to this, Telstra, utilising the 100+ collective years of radio experience of 4 field technicians (often referred to the 'awesome foursome' by the SA Govt.) was the primary on the SAGRN support contract, with Motorola assisting with Voice and Data network support.
Tasmanian Government Radio Network (TasGRN)
The Tasmanian Government Radio Network (TasGRN) is a project to establish a single digital communications network for a number of Tasmanian government organisations.
The private details of every Tasmanian who has called an ambulance from November 2020 to January 2021 have been reportedly published online by a third party in an apparent data breach.
Victorian Government Radio Networks
Melbourne Metropolitan Radio (MMR)
The Metropolitan Mobile Radio (MMR) service is a Project 25 (APCO-25) Phase 1 radio voice communications system. It provides mission critical high quality and secure communications over the Greater Metropolitan area supporting Victoria Police, Ambulance Victoria and the Metropolitan Fire and Emergency Services Board.
The current users are limited to Emergency Services which are:
- Victoria Police (encrypted)
- Ambulance Victoria (encrypted as of July 2019)
- Metropolitan Fire Brigade
- Victoria State Emergency Service
All digital scanning receivers are able to decode the unencrypted conventional P25 channels. End user equipment is supplied by Motorola, primarily XTS5000 portables and XTL5000 mobiles.
Regional Mobile Radio (RMR)
The Regional Mobile Radio (RMR) network is a digital VHF P25 (Phase I & II) trunking network managed by Telstra Corporation. The RMR was initially designed as the Regional Radio Dispatch Service (RRDS) Project for the Country Fire Authority (CFA).
Towards the end of June 2013 the first two trunking sites were switched on for the RMR with all CFA bridges transitioned by August 2014 to the RMR that will become the primary communications system for contacting fire dispatchers used by the CFA. Augmenting its older Analogue VHF Network the RMR network is being used for incident dispatching and emergency communications with statewide fire dispatchers with the older analogue VHF network being slowly decommissioned or repurposed and analogue simplex radio communications being used for local and fire ground radio communications.
In 2016, it was announced that regional Victoria Police would transition to the network with encryption. The transition was successfully completed to encrypted communications on the morning of 20 November 2018. The Victoria State Emergency Services, Life Saving Victoria and Corrections Victoria will also transition.
The current users of the network are:
- Victoria Police (Encrypted)
- Country Fire Authority
- Victoria State Emergency Service
- Life Saving Victoria
- Corrections Victoria
The current end user equipment used by the CFA is supplied by Tait Communications and consists of custom CFA branded TM9100s and TP9100s.
Victorian StateNet Mobile Radio Network (SMR)
It consists of 101 base sites which are strategically positioned to provide 96% coverage of the state to its users. PSTN interconnect features are available, with calls possible from radio to mobile telephones & landlines and vice versa.
Frequency allocation for this network start at 163.0625 MHz to 165.6875Mhz (channel spacing of 12.5 kHz).
There are many government and commercial users of this network, some of which include:
- Parks Victoria
- Yarra Valley Water
- City West Water
- AusNet Services
- Sheriff's Office
- Department of Environment and Primary Industries
- Numerous Taxi Companies
- State Emergency Service (Migrated to RMR)
- Country Fire Authority (Migrated to RMR)
- State Aircraft Unit
The network was recently upgraded by Tait Communications to give users access to a web-portal based reports system called Telstra Hosted Online Reporting (THOR). This feature allows users to track their individual network usage in greater detail.
While a small number of users employ analog frequency inversion voice scrambling, the vast majority of voice traffic on the network is clear.
There are no commercially available scanning receivers able to directly track MPT1327 networks, following voice conversations is possible using freely available decoding software such as Trunkview and a compatible scanner.
Most of the current end user equipment is supplied by Motorola and consists primarily of MCS2000s, MTS2000s, MCX760s and PTX760s.
Western Australia Police Radio Network
The Western Australia Police Radio Network is an encrypted Project 25 (APCO-25) Phase 1 digital trunked radio system operating in Western Australia. The network commenced operation in 2011, and currently provides coverage to 20,000 square kilometres around Perth, and 25,000 square kilometres around regional areas, equating to 95% of the WA population. The network is used by WA Police and the Department of Justice.
- Public Safety Network (PSN) Retrieved 3 December 2020
- NSW GRN Overview Archived 5 July 2009 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 5 May 2011
- Critical Communications Enhancement Program (CCEP) Retrieved 3 December 2020
- Page 11 1%20-%20APD%20Website.PDF NSW GRN History[permanent dead link] Retrieved 5 May 2011 0832
- NSW GRN Users Archived 5 July 2009 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 5 May 2011 0836
- NSW Department of Services Technology and Administration licences.ACMA register of radiocomunications licenses Retrieved 9 October 2010 1452
- Motorola. "SmartZone Network Spec Sheet" (PDF). Motorola.
- PS News. "New radio contract run up the mast".[permanent dead link]
- "Tasmanian Government Radio Network". Department of Police, Fire & Emergency Management. Retrieved 30 December 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- "Ambulance Tasmania patient details published online". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 8 January 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- "Metropolitan Mobile Radio". Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority. Retrieved 8 January 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- Emergency Response ICT Systems (PDF). Victorian Auditor-General. 2014. ISBN 9781922044990. Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 March 2015. Retrieved 25 January 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- "Digital Radios For Country Police And Emergency Services". Premier of Victoria (Press release). 22 December 2016. Retrieved 25 January 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- "Tait enables managed service for Victoria Government Radio Network". Tait Communications. Retrieved 8 January 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)