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MEDIA RELEASE: City of Ipswich sets new path for smart cities built on transparency, trust and citizen benefit

Submitted by Adam Beck on April 19, 2020

The new Mayor of Ipswich City Council, Teresa Harding, has announced her intent on accelerating responsible governance through best-practice data leadership. Mayor Harding has revealed her vision for the establishment of Australia's first Transparency and Integrity Hub for publishing city financial data to rebuild public trust.

Smart Cities Council Australia New Zealand Executive Director Adam Beck welcomed the move saying “data relevant to a city’s budget, and what guides smart cities action and investment is a bedrock of the smart city.”

Beck explained that “the use of data to enhance a city’s actions and investments is best practice, but then publishing the data on how ratepayer’s money is spent and the benefit gained from it is what we would define as global leadership.”

In her statement Mayor Harding cited previous work of the administration and the need for a fresh start. She said “smart city programs are critical to improve services and lower costs. If significant funding has been spent in Ipswich, the community has seen little value. They need to know what was spent, why and what public value has been created.”

Mayor Harding continued by saying “It is our duty to advocate for, lead and serve our Ipswich community and during this term of council there will be the highest degree of transparency over how ratepayer money is used.”

“The smart city is one that uses technology and data to drive greater benefit to citizens and businesses, and this news today from Mayor Harding looks set to disrupt the traditional approach of local government in Australia,” Beck said.

He continued, saying that “local government no longer has the option – technology and data must help drive better services, for less cost.” “As is being revealed through the current COVID-19 pandemic, those smart cities investments aligned to direct economic and social benefit are the ones that are making a difference to people lives.”

The Mayor’s Media Statement can be found here.