The Government has released a report by the House of Representatives Committee on Infrastructure, Transport and Cities on the inquiry into the role of smart ICT in the design and planning of infrastructure. The report calls for a more coordinated and integrated approach to the development and application of smart ICT to infrastructure, with many of the recommendations set to have some impact on Local Government if taken up by the Commonwealth.
Local Government has had several years of experience in working with technology and has developed a number of initiatives in this area. However, as momentum gathers around the importance of smart ICT in the design and planning of infrastructure and the role this plays in maximising the productivity gains of infrastructure, it is also important that the Local Government sector advances its understanding of the opportunities and consequences that smart ICT could have on its services, resources, processes and on the community.
With the right support, Local Government certainly has a role to play in realising the potential of smart ICT in designing, planning, building and managing infrastructure. Local Government engagement will be essential in facilitating a coordinated approach between all levels of government, industry and researchers to deliver the application of smart ICT to infrastructure. ALGA welcomes involvement in the initiatives in the Committee's report through the proposed Smart Infrastructure Task Force and will push for the necessary support for the Local Government sector to be fully effective in this process.
I took the opportunity on this last Federal Parliament sitting week before the May budget to meet with Federal Ministers, Senators and official ministerial staff – including the Prime Minister's Chief of Staff – and highlight the issues raised in ALGA's pre-budget submission. I urged them to consider in budget priorities a complementary focus on support for our communities by focusing on jobs growth, innovation and opportunities in line with the Government's current innovation agenda.
I also asked for their commitment to invest in local infrastructure initiatives that are vital to the sustainability of local communities such as funding community infrastructure at a cost of $300 million per annum for five years to stimulate growth over the longer term and build community resilience, and establishing a program directed at regional road projects, funded at $200 million per annum over the next five years, to ensure that first mile/last mile and freight connectivity issues are addressed.
Support in the May budget for infrastructure at the local level will help strengthen communities and lift local and national productivity.
Mayor Troy Pickard