Australian PM promises millions for smart cities

An electioneering Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced government support of smart city innovation that could see more than $100 million invested each year.

As announced in a campaign press release, Turnbull will create a smart city investment fund and a collaborative smart cities program if he is re-elected in early July.

Turnbull promised to establish an investment fund to “accelerate the deployment of clean energy, renewable energy and energy efficiency technology in cities.” The fund, which will be run by the Clean Energy Finance Corporation will create a funding pool that could generate up to $100 million annually.

“This initiative will support projects that demonstrate value for money and provide a return which will be reinvested in new projects,” said in the media release. “These investments will drive new jobs and enterprise, reduce greenhouse emissions and make our cities more resilient.”

New Australian smart cities program coming

He also promised to establish a $50 million Smart Cities Program that seeks collaboration from local governments in order to improve city livability through the application of innovative technology-based approaches.

“The Smart Cities Program will incentivise councils to partner with communities, local business, not-for-profits and research institutes to create cutting edge technology solutions for urban problems,” the release said.

“Australia’s cities are home to the majority of our population and responsible for more than 80 per cent of national economic output,” continued Turnbull’s media statement, adding that “…our cities are at the frontline of action on climate change.”

This follows Turnbull’s announcement in May of a Smart Cities Plan that would create a new unit for infrastructure finance with the goal in mind of providing the resources needed to create smart cities throughout Australia’s metropolitan regions.

Part of this plan is to create what is being dubbed as “30 minute cities” which describes a city where anyone can commute to work, school, and its various lifestyle services in 30 minutes or less. This would require some major overhauls to Australia’s current transportation system, especially in cities like Melbourne where traffic congestion is a considerable problem.

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