NSW Labor pledges police, services gear

Summary:The NSW Police Force and emergency services groups, like the State Emergency Service, are the big tech winners following NSW Labor's campaign launch in Sydney yesterday.

The NSW Police Force and emergency services groups, like the State Emergency Service, are the big tech winners following NSW Labor's campaign launch in Sydney yesterday.

Kristina Keneally

Kristina Keneally addresses an Australian Information Industry Association. (Credit: Luke Hopewell/ZDNet Australia)

Kristina Keneally launched the Labor campaign yesterday in western Sydney, less than a week before NSW punters go to the polls, promising millions in tech upgrades for front-line police.

New spending initiatives include a $5 million outlay for an electronic evidence collection package.

"This package will include the construction of two special-purpose vehicles for use in siege/hostage and potentially terrorist incidents where electronic surveillance is required," the government said in its policy documents. The documents also added that covert video surveillance kits, listening devices, digital cameras, video recorders and global positioning system (GPS) devices would also be included in the tech spending spree.

In addition, NSW Labor would spend $28 million to replace police radios and $3.9 million to update Taser stun guns with newer models, both over a four-year government period.

Forensic evidence-gathering technology would also get a boost under a re-elected Keneally government, with $10 million set to be poured into new electronic forensic gear.

"This includes up-to-date optical scanning and other technology, as well as replacing the vacuum metal deposition chamber, used to extract fingerprints and footwear markings from objects such as firearms, clothing and plastic," policy documents outlined.

Rural Fire Service (RFS) and State Emergency Service (SES) volunteers would be set to benefit from an $11.2 million boost to their radio replacement program, if the Keneally Government is returned to power.

"We will continue to accelerate the upgrade of RFS communication including radio and pager networks to ensure they can effectively perform their selfless volunteer responsibilities," Labor said in its policy documents.

SES volunteers will also get an additional 1875 personnel locator devices for flood relief situations to keep track of rescue workers.

Local governments will get access to a $5 million fund to install closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras as a deterrent to crime in local areas and as an aid in evidence collection.

NSW Labor also plans to keep communities safe by imposing GPS tracking devices on domestic violence offenders to ensure they don't infringe on apprehended violence orders (AVOs).

NSW Labor re-iterated its position on public transport, saying that it intends to roll out free Wi-Fi across all Sydney buses and trains from next year.

The Keneally Government has also pledged a "real-time graffiti detection" system on CityRail trains and better public access to transport information.

The NSW Labor Government continues to push its smarter state policy released last year, and has promised to release a more concise set of IT policies "closer to the election date". The original plan suggests that by 2020, the NSW economy will grow 30 per cent, driven by "growth in highly skilled, high value-added industries".

Topics: Government, Government : AU, IT Employment, Mobility, Security

About

A fresh recruit onto the tech journalism battlefield, Luke Hopewell is eager to see some action. After a tour of duty in the belly of the Telstra beast, he is keen to report big stories on the enterprise beat. Drawing on past experience in radio, print and magazine, he plans to ask all the tough questions you want answered.

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