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NSW puts $45m behind smart place partnerships

The NSW government has announced a $45 million cash injection to drive the development of ‘smart places’ in partnership with local councils.

Known as the NSW Smart Places Acceleration Program, the funding boost aims to push along the objectives of the NSW Smart Places Strategy [PDF], working with councils and ‘place owners’ to accelerate uptake of smart technologies.

Under the strategy, this is defined as ‘places that use technology to capture data and insights on the built and natural environment to help improve productivity, liveability and resilience of cities, towns and communities’ — sensors, data capture and communication technologies.

Minister for Customer Service Victor Dominello said the investment will play a significant role in helping deliver the strategy.

“We want to use technology to make life easier for people. Whether it’s busting congestion or improving health outcomes, this funding is about strengthening communities,” he said.

“We are calling on expressions of interest and encourage all relevant councils and place-owners to bring forward ideas.”

The strategy builds on NSW Spatial Services’ digital twin project, currently focused on Western Sydney, as well as a suite of policies governing use of such technologies: the NSW Internet of Things (IoT) policy; Smart Infrastructure policy and NSW Cyber Security policy.

Minister for Local Government Shelley Hancock called on all councils to take advantage of this unique opportunity to deliver measurable benefits for their local communities.

“Smart Places will open up a range of improvements for communities, from the introduction of smart CCTV to reduce crime, to reducing water usage through the use of real-time meters,” Mrs. Hancock said.

“I encourage councils across the State to put their thinking caps on and get involved in this innovative project.”

The announcement states that to access the new funding pool, ‘councils and NSW agencies should be able to demonstrate that they can meet and apply the foundational requirements established through the Smart Places Strategy’, though these requirements are not obvious in the body of the strategy.

Interested parties can find out more by emailing Smartplaces@planning.nsw.gov.au.

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