Department of Finance, Services and Innovation

Department of Finance, Services and Innovation Circular

DFSI-2019-01-NSW Government Operational Communications Strategy


DFSI-2019-01 – NSW Government Operational Communications Strategy

Updated advice on the NSW Government Operational Communications Strategy (the Strategy), in line with the Government Telecommunications Act 2018 (the Act), including a number of measures for agencies that will facilitate key initiatives under the Strategy.

Detailed Outline

The Strategy positions government to optimise operational communications technology for its frontline emergency services and agency personnel. The Strategy enables seamless communication across agencies, leading to more agile and responsive service delivery through better access to critical information.

To eliminate unnecessary duplication and promote greater private sector participation and competition, the NSW Government will move away from having individual agencies building, owning and operating their own networks to an arrangement where agencies have access to the right services by the right provider, with a competitive industry playing a key role in service delivery.

Four key initiatives will drive this reform agenda:

  • One Integrated Portfolio – remove duplication and fragmentation by managing assets, resources and services as a single integrated portfolio.
  • Shape a Competitive Market – drive an effective, mature and competitive service market that meets sector requirements.
  • Evolved Critical Communications Capability – develop a resilient and secure communications capability for the sector that supports existing mission-critical voice and new video- and data-based services.
  • Information-Enabled – create a shared intelligence capability that enables agencies to access targeted, timely and relevant information from a variety of sources.

Role of NSW Telco Authority

The NSW Telco Authority (the Authority) is implementing the Critical Communications Enhancement Program (CCEP) to create a single shared radio network across NSW.

The Authority is working closely with agencies to ensure that service delivery priorities are met as it progressively oversees the rationalisation or decommissioning of operational communications assets and infrastructure, leading to managed service arrangements.

All agencies must actively collaborate, as needed, with the Authority to facilitate execution of the Program. To support the implementation of the CCEP, the revised Act introduced Section 16, which requires all agencies to use the Government telecommunications network (the network).

To support the transition, agencies are required to provide the Authority and its industry partners with access to relevant sites and information to allow planning, design, construction and de-commissioning to be carried out.

Agencies are also required to use the NSW Procurement Board’s Standardised Site Licence Agreement Framework (Board Direction 2015-03) when entering into new site licence arrangements with other agencies. This will simplify any changes to site ownership, leasing and management arrangements, if required as part of the rationalisation process.

Rationalisation period

As the rationalised network is established in each region, agencies are required to progressively migrate off their individual networks and use available shared Government radio services and facilities. Although the Act was proclaimed on 12 December, to facilitate this period of rationalisation, Section 16 of the Act will not be proclaimed until a later date to allow time for agencies to migrate onto the network.

In order to meet Strategy objectives of a single integrated portfolio and shared intelligence capability, the Authority will assess all proposals to develop new or additional operational communications infrastructure or services.

Investment process

The role of the Authority will include approval of any proposal to be considered by Cabinet’s Expenditure Review Committee. The Authority’s approval is also required for:

  • any expenditure on new radio communications assets and commercial services, and/or
  • for new sites, new towers on a site or upgrades to a site

If the Authority determines that any proposed infrastructure or network developments or upgrades will interfere with, or otherwise affect the operation of the telecommunications network, they will not be approved.

As with broader information technology investments, proposals will need to be consistent with the investment principles of the NSW Government ICT Investment Policy and Guidelines, particularly by:

  • complying with whole-of-government procurement policies and directions
  • considering a service orientation, including ‘as a service’ sourcing models
  • demonstrating standardisation and interoperability of technologies and solutions
  • demonstrating better value to government and citizens over the life of the investment.

In order to ensure investments are consistent with Strategy objectives:

  • agencies must procure goods and services from any product catalogue established by the Authority under Panel Contract ITS 2573 – Operational Telecommunications Services, Equipment and Infrastructure unless exempted[i]
  • agencies are required to comply with any technical standards, guidelines or policies issued by the Authority for the procurement and use of operational communications infrastructure, equipment, services and spectrum unless exempted[ii]. The Authority will consult with agencies prior to the release of any such standard, guideline or policy.

For any queries regarding operational communications investment and approvals, please contact

Spectrum management

To ensure appropriate allocation of spectrum, all negotiations with the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) in relation to radio frequency allocation on behalf of any NSW Government agency will be carried out by the Authority, in consultation with the relevant agencies as appropriate. Agencies are not to approach ACMA directly on spectrum and related matters.

The Spectrum Management Office of the Authority can be contacted by email at


[i] This refers to exemptions granted by Telco Authority for agencies not to use Panel Contract ITS 2573, not exemption from using the network

[ii] This refers to exemptions granted by Telco Authority from following standard procurement processes or guidelines, not exemption from using the network


Who needs to know and/or comply with this?

Executive agencies related to Departments
Advisory Entities (including Boards and Committees)
Separate agencies
Statutory Authorities/Bodies
Subsidiaries of the NSW Government established under the Corporations Act

AR Details

Date Issued
Jul 15, 2019
Review Date
Jul 15, 2020
Replaced By


(02) 9289 1030
Publishing Entity
Department of Finance, Services and Innovation
Issuing Entity
Department of Finance, Services and Innovation