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Govt's first smart city grants announced

By Dylan Bushell-Embling
Wednesday, 15 November, 2017

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The Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet has announced the recipients for the first grants under its Smart Cities and Suburbs program, awarding $28.5 million to 52 projects across Australia.

The new grants include $5 million in funding for Darwin to install CCTV cameras, smart street lighting and parking sensors across the CBD.

Smart lighting deployed in Bicentennial Park will also include sound monitoring to detect people in distress and potentially notify emergency services. The city’s free Wi-Fi network will also be expanded in key tourist and shopping areas.

Perth has meanwhile been awarded $6 million in technology grants under the program, which includes $9 million in co-investment.

Of this, $8.26 million will go to the City of Fremantle to fund renewable energy generation and storage, rainwater storage and distribution, and an electric vehicle shared ownership trial program.

In addition, $1 million has been allocated for a program from the University of Western Australia and the City of Wanneroo to use real-time rail travel data to improve development of stations along the Metronet expansion, while $2.63 million will go towards building communications facilities around the new Perth Stadium.

In South Perth, $980,000 will be spent on a trial of driverless electric shuttles to reduce congestion and in Joondalup, $2.05 million will be allocated for a monitoring system to better manage the Yellagonga wetlands.

The Australian Smart Communities Association (ASCA), the peak body for smart city organisations, has welcomed the announcement of the grants.

“We congratulate the government on this important initiative and express our members’ sincere thanks to Assistant Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation Angus Taylor for his support for these projects, each of which will contribute to improving the lives of the people in those communities,” ASCA’s new CEO, Laurie Patton, said.

“We look forward to working with the federal government to ensure that Australia is a global leader in the deployment of smart technologies. While there’s already a good deal of energy at local government level, we’ll need Canberra and the states and territories on board if we are to become world class, so we applaud the federal government on this project.”

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