30 April 2016

Geelong Region must be at forefront of Smart Cities Plan

I am delighted to join with the City of Greater Geelong, G21, the Committee for Geelong and the Geelong Chamber of Commerce to push our case for Smart Cities funding for the Geelong Region.

The Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, today released the Smart Cities Plan to deliver jobs closer to homes, more affordable housing, better transport connections and healthy environments.

A renewed national focus on Australian cities, metropolitan and regional, will help build an innovative and prosperous nation.

The Smart Cities Plan prioritises smart investment, smart policy and smart technology to improve our cities. It includes

  • establishment of an infrastructure financing unit to work closely with the private sector on innovative financing solutions
  • committing $50 million to accelerate planning and development works on major infrastructure projects to develop business cases and investment options

Geelong is the one of the nation’s largest major cities.  I have been working closely with Angus Taylor, the Assistant Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation, to ensure the Geelong Region is in the box seat to attract Smart Cities funding.  I have made a submission for $2m to help secure the funding our region needs to accelerate planning and development works on major infrastructure projects.

More and more of the new jobs were at the skilled end of the service economy and those jobs tended to cluster in areas where there were ‘like’ organisations and skillsets.

Regional cities, and suburban centres, such as Geelong have a huge potential to break open the clustering in our capital cities and attract rapid jobs growth.

City Deals would be at the heart of smart policy for regional cities. City Deals will provide common goals across levels of government – local, state and federal. They will support industry and employment centres and infrastructure investment linked to broader reforms.

This Smart Cities funding would enable us to accelerate major infrastructure projects such as the rail duplication project through southern Geelong for which I have been advocating over many months.  Another prime candidate is the proposed convention centre on the waterfront which requires a combination of public and private funding.

The key to our Smart Cities Plan is collaboration at all levels of government.  With G21 as the representative body of our five regional councils, the Geelong Region is already working very collaboratively in conjunction with key organisations such as the Committee for Geelong and the Geelong Chamber of Commerce.

The global lesson is that cities collaborate to compete, and success requires commitment from all tiers of government, the private sector and the local community. There’s a great incentive here for everyone to work together.

I encourage residents to provide input on jobs closer to homes, more affordable housing, commutes to and from work and technology solutions to improve sustainability.

Feedback on the #SmartCitiesPlan is welcome through the cities website www.dpmc.gov.au/cities

29 April 2016