UGFM BECOMES FIRST COMMUNITY EMERGENCY BROADCASTER 28/4/2010
UGFM – Radio Murrindindi has become the first Australian community broadcaster to have official emergency broadcaster status, Minister for Police and Emergency Services Bob Cameron announced Friday.
The station on Friday signed a formal Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for emergency broadcasting with the Victorian Government in a further bid to boost emergency messaging for communities in times of need.
“By including community broadcasters, the Brumby Labor Government is extending the reach of emergency warnings and information – taking another step forward in ensuring the public is informed during bushfires and other emergencies,” Mr Cameron said.
“Under the new agreement, UGFM will break into programming to broadcast emergency warnings at the request of the emergency services, and move to continuous coverage in some circumstances. UGFM has for over 10 years been recognized by the Murrindindi Shire as a local Emergency Broadcaster within the Shire and now has recognition at a state level.“
Member for Seymour Ben Hardman said the agreement is similar to the MOU in place between the emergency services, other commercial networks and ABC radio in Victoria.
“This agreement builds on the actions our Government has been taking to roll-out measures announced since the February 2009 fires and is yet another way to assist communities in times of emergency, especially around these fire affected regions,” Mr Hardman said.
The Office of the Emergency Services Commissioner has written to all community broadcasters in Victoria, inviting them to enter into emergency broadcasting MOUs – subject to their capabilities. UGFM was the first community broadcaster to submit an application for official emergency broadcaster status.
Emergency Services Commissioner Bruce Esplin said community broadcasters throughout Victoria have played an important role in keeping their communities informed about unfolding emergencies.
“UGFM demonstrated their ability to help the community by broadcasting emergency information to the community in February last year, and this agreement recognises and strengthens their work in emergency broadcasting,” Mr Esplin said.
“Giving emergency warnings to the community as quickly as possible is critical to saving lives.”
Mr Cameron said this is one of a range of initiatives the Brumby Labor Government is undertaking to continue improving the delivery of warnings to communities, in line with the recommendations in the Interim Report of the Victorian Bushfire Royal Commission.