The Smart Cities Council of Australia New Zealand (SCCANZ) has called for a series of investments to accelerate digital transformation across urban and regional communities.
In releasing its 2019 national policy priorities, SCCANZ is urging all political parties to embrace four key priority areas and six initiatives it believes will help Australia become globally competitive through technology and data strategies.
The pre-election policy platform includes a series of investments across infrastructure and the built environment, including the establishment of an Office of City Data – a new initiative to capture greater value from data insights across and within all tiers of government.
The priorities and recommendations SCCANZ are calling on all parties to commit to include:
Infrastructure and the Built Environment
- Establishment of the Digital Built Australia Centre of Excellence within Infrastructure Australia to drive the digital transformation of the property sector.
- Production of a National Urban Mobility Framework, to set direction for Australia’s mobility future.
- Creation of a Smart Regions Fund of $50 million per year over three years to catalyse digital transformation in rural and regional areas.
Incubating Investment and Scaling Outcomes
- Renewing the Smart Cities and Suburbs program and committing to $100 million per year for three years.
- Development of a Smart Cities Blueprint for City Deals, ensuring that this program ensures coordinated and scalable action and investment in digital transformation.
Transformed Decision Making
- Establishment of the Office of City Data, working across all tiers of government to build data maturity that can unlock the value of data for enhanced decision making.
Executive Director of SCCANZ, Adam Beck, said, “We believe that greater investment in technology and data solutions can help our cities, regions and indeed the nation positions itself for the opportunities afforded through the greater use of data insights, such as increasing GDP and exports in innovation areas such as PropTech.”
Mr Beck said Australia has swiftly become one of the world’s key smart cities markets, with significant export opportunities emerging in property technology, internet of things, blockchain and civic innovation.
However, he believes the nation is still sluggish with investment in smart technologies in its own cities, to help solve the growing challenges from rapid urbanisation and population growth.
“We need sustained investment from all tiers of government for at least the next term of government to ensure we build the business case and scale and replicate proof of concept projects,” he said.
“The policy recommendations we have presented in this document enable our cities and regions to strive to make ‘smart’ the norm, and not the exception, which is what Australia needs to be a globally competitive smart nation.”
As an example, SCCANZ’s recommendation for the establishment of the Office of City Data marks a concerted effort to help leverage the latent value in data, and unlock this value to transform the way we make decisions in infrastructure spending, metropolitan planning and enhancing social wellbeing.
“The opportunity to realise some of these benefits through scaled investment in technology and data solutions is no clearer than with the City Deals process, which has bipartisan support from the major parties,” Mr Beck said.
“We believe that the City Deals process and the cities and towns moving through this coordinated level of engagement and commitment across all three tiers of government presents a significant platform for smart cities action and investment across the nation.
“As cities, regions and nations across the world build their capacity and increase their investment in technology and data enablement, Australia must also adopt a policy setting which is digital-by-default.”
The 2019 National Policy Priorities can be downloaded here.