Australia launches US$38 million smart cities programme

22nd August 2016 Jonathan Andrews

The Australian Government is encouraging local councils to find technology solutions to improve suburbs and cities.

Speaking at a Future Cities Summit in Brisbane last week, Angus Taylor, Assistant Minister for Cities, announced a series of stakeholder roundtables to be held in September to kick-start the AU$50 million (US$38 million) Smart Cities and Suburbs Programme.

A key election commitment of the new government, the programme will support councils across Australia to fast-track open data and innovative technology solutions to fix local problems.

Taylor said the goal was to encourage local governments to partner with tech experts to make cities and suburbs more liveable, sustainable and productive.

“The Smart Cities and Suburbs Programme is to support clever technology ideas to fix difficult or long standing community issues,” he said. “The most valuable projects will be transformative collaborations between multiple councils and technology industry partners that link closely with future plans for the area.”

“The Commonwealth [Government] expects local governments to bring forward a variety of cutting-edge projects such as collaborative design solutions or pilots of emerging technologies.”

A wide range of projects are expected to be eligible, such as app-based detection of infrastructure wear and tear and automatic dispatch of maintenance crews, to computer generated programs that support or enhance city services.

Taylor said the most valuable projects will be transformative collaborations between multiple councils and technology industry partners that link closely with future plans for the area.

Stakeholder roundtables will be held in a number of major Australian cities during September.

The Australian announcement follows on from other national governments around that world that are increasingly recognising the potential of their cities such as India’s 100 smart cities programme and the US Department of Transportation’s US$50-million smart city challenge.

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