The Nationals in Government have secured much-needed technology for emergency services on the North Coast.

Emergency responders will have improved radio support in the field thanks to the first agency-operated fully-mobile Government Radio Network (GRN) site unveiled in Grafton by NSW Nationals Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis.

The NSW Telco Authority and NSW SES joint project, known as a “Cell on Wheels” (CoW), enhances operational radio communications for front-line emergency services.

Mr Gulaptis said the $487,000 project was jointly funded by NSW SES and the Critical Communications Enhancement Program (CCEP), which aimed to increase radio coverage on the North Coast from less than 17 per cent to more than 85 per cent by June 2019.

“The CCEP represents the largest investment in critical communications by the Nationals in Government in two decades,” Mr Gulaptis said. “With our high rate of natural disasters and flood prone areas, the North Coast has been prioritised for the CCEP to deliver the best support for our frontline workers so they can help ensure the safety of our local community during emergencies.”

The CoW is based on an Iveco 4WD platform that facilitates access to locations normally inaccessible by regular 4x4 vehicles and trailers. Where road access is not possible, the equipment is purpose-built to be dismounted from the vehicle and deployed by helicopter.

Eighty-seven radio sites have been identified for construction or upgrade in the region as part of the CCEP, which spans from Port Stephens to the Queensland border. Construction activities for the North Coast area will commence in the coming weeks.