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Smart cities think tank to offer advice on planning

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As cities across Australia, whether they’re regional or metropolitan, are busy trying to compete for funding from the federal government to support their smart city initiatives, the Commonwealth has established a new think tank that will be tasked to advise government on cities policy. In an announcement by Assistant Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation, Angus Taylor, the federal government will establish a Cities Reference Group, which will be comprised of ‘leading thinkers’ on cities issues in Australia, as well as ‘internationally renowned’ experts.

The Assistant Minister himself will be a member of the Reference Group, as well as Monica Barone, Secretary, Council of Capital City Lord Mayors; Danny Broad, chief executive officer, Australasian Railway Association; and Romilly Madew, chief executive officer, Green Building Council of Australia, among several others. Mr Taylor said the Reference Group will be a “valuable source” of expertise and insight for the government as it continues to deliver on its Smart Cites Plan. “Our cities agenda is all about positioning our cities to be the best they can be in the future,” Mr Taylor said. “I’m looking forward to working with the Reference Group as we continue to refine our cities policy, foster new ideas for innovation and collaboration, and shape the way we measure performance of our cities,” he said.

The first meeting, chaired by Mr Taylor, is scheduled for 26 April. Establishment of the Cities Reference Group builds on the work already undertaken with other governments, industry and experts to deliver on the Government’s Smart Cities Plan. The Smart Cities Plan, released last year, sets out a vision for Australia’s cities based on smart policy, smart investment and smart technology. It aims to position Australian cities to succeed in the 21st century economy and supports productive, accessible, liveable cities that attract talent, create jobs, and encourage innovation and growth.

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