22/09/2021 | Vincent Tarzia MP | Better Services

Game-changing track-and-trace technology will revolutionise bushfire fighting in South Australia this summer with the rollout of Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) equipment, enhancing fireground safety and intelligence during emergencies.

Today, in an important announcement ahead of the upcoming bushfire season, Minister for Emergency Services Vincent Tarzia has revealed Netstar Australia as the tender winner for AVL.

Minister Tarzia said AVL is a crucial tool that provides real-time truck and vehicle tracking, ensuring firefighters and assets can be accounted for at any and every second during bushfires.

The implementation of AVL into the emergency services sector has been recommended – and ignored – since 2012, but is now finally progressing with $13.5 million backing from the Marshall Liberal Government after in-depth trials across South Australia with a heavy focus on remote locations.

“Netstar’s AVL solution has been tested thoroughly and can withstand high demand in some of the state’s most remote locations, like parts of Kangaroo Island, where phone connectivity is non-existent,” Minister Tarzia said.

“This is a significant step forward in terms of safety for our emergency services volunteers and personnel. They should have been given this personal protection many years ago, but the Marshall Government is proud to deliver this crucial capability for them.

Over the coming months, AVL will be installed in more than 1,400 vehicles for the Country Fire Service, Metropolitan Fire Service, State Emergency Service, ForestrySA and the Department for Environment and Water for operations across metropolitan Adelaide and regional South Australia.

“Importantly, the implementation of AVL also delivers on the Keelty Review recommendations and supplements the Marshall Government’s $97.5m action plan to create a more bushfire resilient state.”

During the trials – which took place between January and February this year – the AVL project team visited Kangaroo Island and covered numerous satellite-only areas.

Food delivery apps use basic tracking technology in metropolitan cities across the globe, but AVL must be faultless in situations where cellular coverage is limited and the capability switches to satellite dependence.

The other trials took place in the Mount Lofty Ranges, on the West Coast, Yorke Peninsula, Far North and South East.

Bushfire-hit locations at Lucindale and Cherry Gardens also featured in the field trials to gather data from partially active firegrounds.

The Keelty Review made 68 findings and 15 recommendations. The Marshall Government has completed all 27 immediate action items from its response.