Infrastructure resilience work - Mount Wandera
Project: Improve the resilience of the Mount Wandera telecommunications site
Timeframe: December 2019 to December 2023
Cost and funding:
- $750,000 from the Australian Government’s Disaster Ready Fund (pending final government approvals and release of funds).
- Supplementary funding from asset owners.
We are working to:
- build a more resilient telecommunications infrastructure network
- improve power supply, access, asset protection zone and hardening of site infrastructure.
Benefits to the community:
- increased resilience of the Mount Wandera infrastructure improves the chances of maintaining:
- the government radio network for all emergency services
- mobile reception
- television and radio reception
- peace of mind for the community
- council’s telemetry systems for water and sewer
- a safer working environment.
Background and purpose
Atop Mount Wandera, west of Moruya, sits the main telecommunications infrastructure for the whole of Eurobodalla. It transmits police, ambulance and fire radio communications, as well as ABC and commercial radio and television, mobile phone services, and more.
Extensive damage to the facility in the 2019-20 Bushfires resulted in the loss of emergency services radio networks, ABC radio broadcasting, and other telecommunications, significantly contributing to the community’s anxiety during the event and placing first responders at higher risk.
Council has since led a steering group of site users to develop a plan to improve resilience for the whole site. The plan includes:
- providing resilient power poles from the open farmland to Mount Wandera
- replacing vulnerable above ground electrical turrets and pole mounted transformers with more resilient installations
- improving power back-up onsite
- improving vehicle access including turning arrangements
- expanding asset protection zones
- improving resilience of Council’s own installation.
Council led advocacy work to government in the lead up to the last federal election. We called for urgent funding to improve the resilience of Mount Wandera’s infrastructure. We received strong support from Eurobodalla’s Local Emergency Management Committee, Far South Coast Bushfire Management Committee, local community associations and business chambers.
- We are liaising with the Federal Government regarding timing of release of $750,000 under the Australian Government’s Disaster Ready Fund. These funds will allow us to complete all remaining resilience and site safety works in 2023.
- Forestry Corporation granted approval for works to be carried out in State Forest.
- We progressed with Crown Lands’ licencing requirements.
- We sought quotes for works to expand the asset protection zone, remove hazardous trees and improve site access.
- We engaged a consultant to complete a Review of Environmental Factors for work to improve resilience for Mount Wandera.
- NSW Telco Authority provided a five-day back-up system for the government radio network and Telstra a two-day back-up for telecommunications.
- Essential Energy replaced vulnerable aboveground electrical turrets on site.
- We started advocating for improvements to the site, the infrastructure and access.
- We undertook initial works to protect the site shortly before the fire arrived.
For further information about the project please contact our Asset Engineer, Rob Burke:
- T: 02 4474 1000
- E: Council