Automated vehicle location firetruck gps tracking rollout

4 February 2021

Mr DULUK (Waite) (14:52): My question is to the Minister for Emergency Services. Can the minister please update the house on the rollout of the automatic vehicle location tracking systems to support our emergency services volunteers when they are fighting bushfires in our communities? Sir, with your leave and that of the house, I will further explain.

  [Leave granted.]

Mr DULUK: In July last year, the independent review into the South Australian 2019-20 bushfire season was handed down to the parliament. There was a $20 million investment as part of that review, and one recommendation concerned the importance of automatic vehicle location tracking systems. In conversations with my CFS group and brigades in my community over the weekend including Upper Sturt in your brigade, sir we are still waiting for that rollout with our community. We would appreciate an update from the minister as to when that will happen.


The Hon. V.A. TARZIA (Hartley) Minister for Police, Emergency Services and Correctional Services) (14:53): I thank the honourable member for the question. It enables me to talk a little bit about the good work that the government is doing in terms of the emergency services space. Sir, as you are aware, the state government was the first government in all of Australia to commission an independent bushfire review. We are very proud about that. We are certainly getting on with the job of making sure that we respond to that review in a comprehensive manner.

It was responded to, if you like, in terms of two stages, stage 1 and stage 2. There were 27 action items that were to be actioned before the end of the bushfire season, and I am pleased to update and inform the house that 23 of those 27 have already been implemented. One of the recommendations, if you like, was in relation to AVL, otherwise known as Automatic Vehicle Location. By the way, review after review was conducted in relation to Automatic Vehicle Location, but what these reviews showed was that this should have been invested in a long time ago.

It had not been done by former governments, but we are getting on with the job. We have committed $5 million to make sure that we get on with the job of unveiling Automatic Vehicle Location technology. What it means, basically, is that we will be able to see where these trucks are in the dark of night. If you look at where our fires have been recently, whether it be in the South-East or in the Adelaide Hills (and we had the very dangerous 2019-20 season), often we will send crews and they could be crews from all over the state to go into unfamiliar environments and unfamiliar terrain in the dark of night, and into dangerous conditions and smoky conditions, and it is very, very important that an incident command centre, or such a centre, will be able to see where these trucks are.

As the member for Waite alluded to, we are getting on with the job. We are trialling the technology. Aspects of the trial are underway. I believe that we are unveiling that trial in five strategic locations, one being Yorke Peninsula in the member for Narungga's electorate, one being on the West Coast in the member for Flinders' electorate and in the Adelaide Hills, as well as a number of other locations.

I have certainly been made aware of the fact that progress has been made on the trial. What the emergency services department, SAFECOM, is looking at doing is obviously starting the trial, and once we learn from that trial we will then develop that further with a view to unveiling that across the entire state. Certainly, it is a very, very important aspect.

With respect to the member for Waite's question in terms of his particular brigade, I am more than happy to go up there and meet with them. As I said, the Adelaide Hills is certainly a very fundamental part of the state where many bushfires have occurred, and we have seen in recent times that very serious fires have occurred.

I am certainly happy to talk to the brigades in the member for Waite's electorate, but I also take this opportunity just to remind the house that, as a government, we put out a package of over $97 million. We are making sure that we are getting on with the job of delivering over 25 CFS trucks this bushfire season, and making sure that we also roll out thermal imagining cameras. As you would be aware in your own electorate, sir, basically these cameras see heat, but we are also making sure that we do take this opportunity to unveil this AVL technology.

We will continue to do that and, sir, if you have not already, make sure you do download the Alert SA app. I notice that the app has had over 200,000 downloads. That is also a good thing. I am happy to visit the member for Waite and his brigades.