Fifty-two projects across Australia have received funding through the first round of the government’s Smart Cities and Suburbs Program, with grants totalling $28.5 million.
While forty percent of successful projects are located in regional Australia, six projects across Perth received a combined $6 million in funding, with co-investment of $9 million taking the total to $15 million, while Darwin received $5 million for one project.
The Darwin ‘Smart Technology Project’ will see the City of Darwin partner with the Northern Territory Government to expand the city’s free wifi network across tourist and shopping areas, while smart parking sensors will be installed to indicate available parking.
The project will also see the installation of CCTV cameras at entrances to the city, with street lighting to be upgraded to LED lighting and ‘smart’ columns with the capacity to adjust lighting with the aim of reducing street crime. The government stated smart lighting will also be installed in the city’s Bicentennial Park and will include sound monitoring to detect people in distress and notify police and emergency services if needed.
Angus Taylor, Assistant Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation, said, “This will be a multi-layered communication network to let Darwin plug in different types of technologies and literally ‘switch on’ the city.
“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.”
The six Perth projects, meanwhile, include a trial of driverless electric shuttles conducted in collaboration between RAC WA and the City of South Perth, a monitoring system to better manage the Yellagonga Wetlands for the City of Joondalup, and renewable energy generation and storage, rainwater storage and distribution, and an electric vehicle shared ownership trial in the City of Fremantle.
The Smart Cities and Suburbs Program is part of the government’s wider focus on smart cities, having last year released its Smart Cities Plan, ‘a plan for supporting productive, accessible, liveable cities that attract talent, encourage innovation and create jobs and growth’, which feed into its ‘City Deals’.
City Deals look to bring together the three levels of government, the community, and business to align “the planning, investment and governance necessary to accelerate growth and job creation, stimulate urban renewal and drive economic reforms”.
The six key focuses are infrastructure and investment; liveability and sustainability; housing; innovation and digital opportunities; jobs and skills; and governance, city planning, and regulation.
With City Deals having been signed in Launceston, Townsville, and Western Sydney, the government stated it is currently working with the Western Australian government to identify potential opportunities for a Perth City Deal.