Feds prepare councils for digital future


The Commonwealth government has moved to help local councils prepare for a digital future, while investing in smart cities projects, with the first launch in Brisbane.

The Australian government’s $50 million Smart Cities and Suburbs Program is under the spotlight under moves to bring local councils into 21st century planning programs.

A Future Ready initiative has been launched, featuring a series of webinars and masterclasses. This program was unveiled in Brisbane by Angus Taylor, federal assistant minister for cities and digital transformation.

Queensland’s digital innovations also come up for discussion at the FST Government Queensland conference being held 16th March in Brisbane.

Under the Future Ready program, councils are invited to register for a series of webinars and masterclasses to build smart cities and enhance their planning and ICT know-how.

Minister Taylor said Future Ready was designed to help councils and their communities create valuable connections with industry leaders, experts and service providers.

The goal is to accelerate smart city plans and projects, while investing in incubation technologies. A wide range of projects will be developed. These include app-based detection of infrastructure wear and tear, traffic sensors, smart street lighting, and computer-generated programs that support local services.

The latest collaboration is a break from the traditional grants program. “It’s a stepping stone toward the soon to be launched Smart Cities and Suburbs Program,” said minister Taylor.

“It will nurture ideas at a local level, ahead of Federal funding for the best technology projects.”

Logan City Council mayor, Luke Smith, noted that councils must think differently in the digital economy. This roadmap involves changing processes, taking risks and learning from the private sector. “We are looking forward to sharing what Logan is doing in the smart cities space for the Future Ready series and using innovative technology to better manage our city,” he said.

Future Ready events will run between May and September 2017 with collaborative activities and project incubation continuing beyond the formal program.

Registrations are now open. To find out more, visit this dedicated site.