Initiative 9: Support communities on their digital transformation journeys

what is the issue?

Without additional funding and a broadening of the Commonwealth’s Smart Cities and Suburbs initiative, there is a risk the benefit of investments in smart technologies will not be fully realised. Many communities will be left behind and the full benefits of the digital economy will not be realised across Australia.

why is this important for communities?

All communities, whether they be in the major capitals or in regional towns, need to be future-ready. Linked-up, smart communities will foster decentralisation and ensure equitable access to the benefits of the knowledge economy.

What do we know?

  • Many councils and their communities need support on their digital transformation journeys.
  • Whole-of-Government business transformation strategies that result in an interconnected government and collaborative citizen-centred approaches will underpin tomorrow’s smart cities.
  • Rural and regional Australia and its telecommunications connectivity capabilities will also underpin business transformation and interconnectedness.
  • Uptake of electric and autonomous vehicles in Australia will be limited by patchy telecommunications services in rural, regional and remote areas.

Local government proposes:

Support communities on their digital transformation journeys by:

  • building on the Smart Cities and Suburbs Program approach by providing a Smart Communities Program of $100 million per annum
  • establishing a Digital Local Government and Rural / Regional Telecommunications Program of $100 million over four years to increase the community benefits of improved technology, connectedness and innovation.

ECONOMIC BENEFIT:

The Smart Communities Program would have a cumulative Gross Domestic Product benefit of $242.3 million by the third year and create up to 700 new jobs.

The Digital Local Government and Rural / Regional Telecommunications Program would have a cumulative Gross Domestic Product benefit of $98.1 million by the third year and create up to 300 new jobs.

Councils across Australia have banded together to support ALGA’s call for ‘1% + Partnership Programs’. This calls for the next Federal Government to restore core local government funding of Financial Assistance Grants to at least 1% of Commonwealth taxation revenue and add funding for partnership programs where agreed.

Here's how councils would spend the additional funding to help their communities:

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