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The Next Spend - Recommendations for a digitally-enabled and data-driven economic recovery

Submitted by Adam Beck on June 18, 2020


Among the many reflections the Smart Cities Council has made following months of intensive engagement with our company members and those in our network from government, is that the ability for business and the community to participate in the digital economy is now more important than ever. For many, if not most, it was a matter of survival over recent months.

As we move into the important phase of economic rebuild, government and industry must work together to identify the best possible opportunities for policy reform, new programs and directing economic stimulus.

The Smart Cities Council has established a private-public sector partnership think tank – the Bounce Lab – which is playing its role over the next six months to support this effort and dig deeper into possible solutions.

There is no question that our economic rebuild must be a digital one. We need to bounce forward in a way that not only helps retain existing jobs but creates the new jobs this nation needs. Jobs that allow us to continue to transform our infrastructure and services through digital solutions and data driven practices.

As such, the Smart Cities Council has prepared ‘The Next Spend’ – our recommendations for Australia on a digitally-enabled and data-driven economic recovery.

Our recommendations respond to key opportunities that use technology and data to accelerate jobs creation and enhance efficiencies, and the savings that go along with those efficiencies.

We are recommending the government supercharges our economic recovery with the following six opportunities for businesses and the community:

  1. Build infrastructure, build smart – ‘smart infrastructure’ is in stock in Australia and we strongly recommend that all infrastructure stimulus has a mandatory ‘digitally-enabled’ response
  2. Create a digital framework for infrastructure investment – the new global benchmark is ‘data as infrastructure’, and Australia needs to build a ‘data-led infrastructure’ culture to remain globally competitive
  3. Activating our Digital Twins –through a series of lighthouse projects, accelerate the full functionality of existing Digital Twins, helping accelerate e-planning, infrastructure development and investment attraction processes that speed up the pipeline of spend and enhance social, environmental and economic outcomes
  4. Fund real-time Integrated Intelligence Hubs – digitally connecting our eyes and ears to better manage what is happening and to know what is coming
  5. Mobilising a series of Digital Benefit District upgrades – investing in place-based upgrades to major activity centres, equipping them with the best connectivity, sensing and data analytics capability
  6. Enhance the digital and data literacy of SME’s – essential upgrades to boost the digital and data literacy of small and medium business to compete in the internet economy more fully.

We believe the above recommendations present a unique opportunity to provide immediate jobs, while creating the conditions for future prosperity in an uncertain environment.

You can download The Next Spend below.