Bendigo is set to lobby the federal government to be a regional pilot in its new ‘smart cities’ plan – which could deliver millions of dollars in government and industry investment and deliver new infrastructure.
City of Greater Bendigo councillors will vote tomorrow night on whether to endorse the plan to apply for a ‘city deal’, launched by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on April 29.
Bendigo Business Council chief executive officer Leah Sertori said the submission would build on an expression of interest which the BBC had already lodged with the Prime Minister’s office.
“It’s absolutely fantastic that the city is joining us in saying we have a vision for Bendigo for the next 20 years on how best to leverage technology to increase investment and create jobs,” Ms Sertori said.
“If Bendigo were to be a regional pilot it would be very exciting for two reasons: one is the additional resources but also it keeps positioning ‘brand Bendigo’ – which is about being about Australia’s most innovative regional city – that helps attract smart people to our smart city.”
She said the BBC’s ‘city deal’ bid centred on a plan with four key ‘demonstration proposals’.
One would see the city become a net exporter of renewable energy, while another would develop a ‘Bendigo bond’ to attract superannuation funds.
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The plan also advocates a network of sensors and ‘smart meters’ to capture data and an open source, big data hub.
Ms Sertori used digital water meters as an example of a ‘smart sensor’ city.
“That idea is about using a network of sensors and ‘smart meters’ to capture information about the city, to better use data to improve peoples’ quality of life,” she said.
“The open source data hub for Bendigo is about having a non-proprietary – so no one owns it – platform for sharing big data.
“So the data can be identified but can’t be traced back to the individual.
“It would be information like energy use profile or health characteristics for the whole city, which would not compromise privacy.”
The business chief said a “Bendigo bond” scheme could attract superannuation funds to invest in large infrastructure projects.
“We’d still be looking at federal and state funding for things like a ring-road or power station,” Ms Sertori said.
“But it might help get things like a Marong business park or new water infrastructure off the ground.”