Ministers for the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities The Hon Michael McCormack MP Deputy Prime MinisterMinister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Senator the Hon Bridget McKenzie Minister for Regional ServicesMinister for SportMinister for Local Government and Decentralisation The Hon Alan Tudge MP Minister for Cities, Urban Infrastructure and Population The Hon Sussan Ley MP Assistant Minister for Regional Development and Territories The Hon Andrew Broad MP Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister The Hon Scott Buchholz MP Assistant Minister for Roads and Transport The Hon Barnaby Joyce MPFormer Deputy Prime MinisterFormer Minister for Infrastructure and Transport The Hon Dr John McVeigh MPFormer Minister for Regional Development, Territories and Local Government The Hon Keith Pitt MPFormer Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister The Hon Damian Drum MPFormer Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister Senator the Hon Fiona Nash Former Minister for Regional DevelopmentFormer Minister for Local Government and Territories The Hon Darren Chester MP Former Minister for Infrastructure and TransportFormer A/g Minister for Regional DevelopmentFormer A/g Minister for Local Government and Territories The Hon Warren Truss MP Former Deputy Prime Minister Former Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development The Hon Paul Fletcher MP Former Minister for Urban Infrastructure and Cities The Hon Jamie Briggs MP Former Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development

Smarter living for city dwellers

Opinion Piece


19 June 2018

First published in the June 2018 edition of the WA Chamber of Commerce and Industry's Business Pulse magazine

When Malcolm Turnbull became Prime Minister, he made cities a key focus of the Australian Government.

For the first time under a federal Coalition government, Malcolm Turnbull appointed a Minister for Cities. And he launched the Smart Cities Plan—a plan to position our cities to succeed in the 21st Century economy through the use of City Deals negotiated with state, territory and local governments.

Liveable, vibrant cities are critical to our prosperity.

After all, 64 per cent of us live in our five biggest cities; 84 per cent of us live in our 21 biggest cities; and almost ninety per cent of us live in cities or towns - one of the highest rates of any country in the world.

Our cities are not just where most of us live; they are also where most economic activity occurs - 80 per cent of economic activity is generated in our eight capital cities and they account for two thirds of employment.

Improving the functioning and efficiency of our cities is important for many reasons.

One of the ways we're achieving this goal is through City Deals, and in April, we committed along with the Western Australian Government to negotiate a City Deal for Perth.

The Perth City Deal will leverage the investment of both governments in Metronet, an ambitious plan to connect Perth's suburbs, reduce congestion and meet Perth's future planning needs by investing in new public transport infrastructure and services and planning for new urban communities–this aligns strongly with the objectives of our Smart Cities Plan.

Another way we're achieving this goal is through our $50 million Smart Cities and Suburbs Program. This program encourages and supports local government, businesses and research organisations to develop and implement projects that use smart technology to solve local problems.

Round One of the program supported 49 projects, including seven from Western Australia, and the roll-out of a wide range of technologies across four target areas: smart infrastructure, smart precincts, smart services and communities and smart planning and design.

One of those projects, led by Curtin University and to which we've provided $2.5 million, uses block chain technology to establish an integrated power, water and mobility system comprising of renewable energy generation, battery storage, recycled and rainwater storage and distribution and an electric vehicle shared ownership trial. The project aims to show how integrating various technology platforms can deliver energy and water efficiency outcomes.

Another project, led by the City of Perth and to which we're contributing $1.3 million, will trial smart irrigation in public parks and we've also committed $490,000 to trial a driverless electric shuttle in Perth.

We're also contributing $500,000 to a University of Western Australia project which will use real-time patronage and station use data to transform the way Perth rail station precincts and employment zones along the Metronet extension are planned and developed to maximise employment and community outcomes.

We expect to support more of these sorts of projects in Western Australia as we roll out Round Two of the program.

Each project supported by the Smart Cities and Suburbs Program is an opportunity for all cities and suburbs across Australia to adapt these smart solutions to their own communities.

The collaboration between local governments, industry, research organisations, tech start-ups and manufacturers in cities and towns across Australia also supports the growth of emerging industries and the development of a strong domestic digital technology sector, positioning Australian companies to service the fast growing international smart cities market.

The Turnbull Government is also using its record $75 billion investment in infrastructure to fund smart solutions for our roads.

As part of our $10 billion investment in infrastructure across Western Australia, we're funding Perth's first Smart Freeway.

The $47 million Kwinana Freeway Smart Freeway project will use technology to create an additional lane by converting the emergency lane from Canning Highway to the Narrows Bridge into a full-time traffic lane.

The high-tech components of this project are expected to deliver journey time savings of up to 10 minutes for freeway road users travelling from Roe Highway to the city.

The technology being used here has proven successful around the world for managing congestion, improving safety and getting the most out of existing infrastructure.

Our cities are changing and our population is growing. But Western Australians can be confident that the Turnbull Government has a clear focus on making our cities and suburbs better places to live and work.

First published in the June 2018 edition of the WA Chamber of Commerce and Industry's Business Pulse magazine