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Darwin and Perth receive funding in first round of Australian Government’s Smart Cities and Suburbs Program

Darwin’s Smart Technology Project and Perth’s Smart City projects have received AU$5 million and AU$6 million respectively in Round One of the Australian Government’s inaugural Smart Cities and Suburbs Program. These are among 52 successful projects receiving AU$28.5million in the first round.

The AU$50 million Smart Cities and Suburbs Program is a key element of the Government’s Smart Cities Plan. Round Two of the Program is expected to open in the first half of 2018.

Under the Program, funding will flow to communities across Australia, with 40% of successful projects located in regional areas.  Successful projects are co-funded and delivered through partnerships with local governments, industry, research organisations and the private sector.

Darwin’s Smart Technology Project 

Darwin’s Smart Technology Project has been awarded AU$5 million. The City of Darwin will partner with the Northern Territory (NT) Government to install CCTV cameras at entrances to the city, along Daly Street and Bennett Street. The City of Darwin and the NT Government will both contribute AU$2.5 million to the AU$10 million project.

Street lighting will be upgraded to LED lighting and on ‘smart’ columns with the capacity to adjust lighting to reduce street crime. In Bicentennial Park, smart lighting will include sound monitoring to detect people in distress and potentially notify policy and emergency services. The free Wi-Fi network will be expanded in key tourist and shopping areas. Smart parking sensors will indicate available parking and reduce congestion and emissions.

Assistant Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation, Angus Taylor, joined with NT Senator and Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, the NT’s Deputy Chief Minister, Nicole Manison, NT Assistant Minister for a Vibrant CBD, Paul Kirby, and the Lord Mayor of Darwin, Kon Vatskalis, to announce the successful project.

“This will be a multi-layered communication network to let Darwin plug in different types of technologies and literally ‘switch on’ the city,” Assistant Minister Taylor said, “The Smart Cities and Suburbs Program wants to support clever ideas that fix problems and can be replicated in other places, particularly in the outer suburbs of our cities and the regions.

“We’ve already agreed to work with the NT Government on a future City Deal for Darwin, and this project will support the City Deal’s aim of creating a more vibrant and liveable city and revitalising Darwin’s CBD,” he added.

Minister Scullion said, “Technology enables us to stay in front and creates jobs for our city. It allows business to keep moving and growing and I'm rapt Darwin is receiving this investment.”

NT Deputy Chief Minister Nicole Manison said the collaboration builds on the work already underway in the Territory to transform Darwin into a tourist and cultural destination. 

“This $2.5 million injection, as part of a collaboration with the Federal Government and the City of Darwin, will work alongside some of our other immediate initiatives to attract people into the CBD,” Ms Manison said.

City of Darwin Lord Mayor Kon Vatskalis said the funding would help the city develop leading edge infrastructure that was aligned with the city’s vision and digital strategy. He said, “This is a really exciting time for Darwin and I look forward to working with the Australian Government, Northern Territory Government and other key stakeholders to transform Darwin into a smarter city.”

Perth’s Smart City projects

Perth has been awarded AU$6 million in technology grants under the Smart Cities and Suburbs Program to help solve practical problems and take forward an economy-boosting Perth City Deal.

This federal funding leverages further co-investment of AU$9 million taking the total investment for Perth projects in this round under the Smart Cities and Suburbs Program to AU$15 million.

At the site of Perth’s first driverless electric shuttle bus, the RAC Intellibus™, the six projects were announced, including:

  • The City of Fremantle - renewable energy generation and storage, rainwater storage and distribution, and an electric vehicle shared ownership trial - AU$8.26 million
  • The City of Perth - communications precinct around the new Perth Stadium and an irrigation trial in public parks - AU$2.63 million
  • The City of Joondalup - monitoring system to better manage the Yellagonga Wetlands - AU$2.05 million
  • University of Western Australia in collaboration with the City of Wanneroo -  real-time rail patronage data to improve development of rail station precincts along the Metronet extension - AU$1 million
  • City of Gosnells - real-time data on thermal performance of newly built homes, to encourage the uptake of energy efficiency measures for new housing developments - AU$265,000
  • RAC WA Holdings in collaboration with the City of South Perth - trial of driverless electric shuttles to reduce congestion - AU$980,000.

These projects are expected to benefit Perth by stimulating new partnerships and business growth, creating new job opportunities and supporting technological innovation in the region.

The Australian Government is currently working with the Western Australian Government to identify opportunities for the city via a Perth City Deal. A potential City Deal for Perth could build on the joint AU$2.3 billion road and rail infrastructure package for WA, announced in the 2017-18 Federal Budget, which included more than AU$1 billion in Australian Government funding for Metronet Stage 1.

A Perth City Deal would potentially improve liveability for Perth residents. It will support population and economic growth, the creation of employment hubs and high density residential development, based around new and redeveloped train stations improving commute times.

Featured image: Pedro Szekely/ CC BY-SA 2.0

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