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​Turnbull to kick off AU$50m Smart Cities program in September

The Australian government will be launching its Smart Cities and Suburbs Program next month in a bid to encourage local councils to look towards technology to improve suburbs and cities.

The federal government will be hosting public-private roundtable sessions next month focused on encouraging local councils to improve its suburbs and cities through the use of technology.

At a cost of AU$50 million, the Smart Cities and Suburbs Program aims to support councils across Australia to fast-track open data and innovative technology solutions to fix local problems.

Speaking at a Future Cities Summit in Brisbane on Thursday, Assistant Minister for Cities Angus Taylor said the goal was to encourage local government to partner with tech experts to make cities and suburbs more liveable, sustainable, and productive.

"The Smart Cities and Suburbs Program is to support clever technology ideas to fix difficult or long standing community issues. The most valuable projects will be transformative collaborations between multiple councils and technology industry partners that link closely with future plans for the area," he said.

"The Commonwealth expects local governments to bring forward a variety of cutting-edge projects such as collaborative design solutions or pilots of emerging technologies."

Projects eligible for funding under the program are expected to be the likes of app-based infrastructure wear and tear detection platforms, automatic dispatch of maintenance crews, as well as computer generated programs that support or enhance city services.

Taylor said the government was keen to explore innovative approaches, such as collaborative design of solutions to complex urban problems, pilots of emerging technologies, the implementation of technologies at scale, and business case development.

Initially announced as an election promise, the government said previously it wanted to see local councils be involved in planning, infrastructure, or service initiatives that demonstrate open data, partnerships, the use of technology, and make measurable improvements to people's quality of life.