Bendigo Business Council lead collaborative pitch for Smart Cities pilot.

The ability of Bendigo businesses, service providers and politicians to collaborate with one another is the ingredient that sets the town’s smart city bid apart from the pack, leaders behind the 20-year plan for prosperity have said.

The Smart Cities plan, which won over Bendigo’s council during its last meeting, aims to improve the quality of life inside the municipality by stimulating growth and improving service provision over the next two decades.

Bendigo Business Council chief executive officer Leah Sertori, whose group is leading as many as 20 local stakeholders in pitching to become one of the federal government’s Smart Cities, said while the idea had been trialled overseas, international examples had typically been led by governments alone.

In Bendigo, representatives of organisations like Coliban Water, Bendigo Health and Bendigo and Adelaide Bank were also contributing to the application process.

Residents will not be excluded from the draft process either, and will be invited to cast their eye over the submission in late September, once the consortium has met with state and federal government departments.

Ms Sertori said growing the opportunities for and experience of all Bendigonians was a central value of the group’s plan.

“Everyone is going to go through this process (of change). For us, it’s about being ahead of the curve and making sure all people benefit because of this endeavour,” she said.

But Bendigo was not without competitors, with regional cities in Queensland and West Australia also intending to run for the right to be a Smart Cities pilot, Ms Sertori said.

Bringing La Trobe and Deakin universities on board was another form of collaboration Ms Sertori hoped would get Bendigo over the line, saying their research would measure the success of projects born out of the program and assist the federal government rolling out Smart cities to other parts of Australia.

Margaret O’Rourke, who is also a member of the consortium, explained the city ’s “smart’ push would not end if the government rejected the Bendigo bid.

“We’re fortunate in our community we can get people armed and together very quickly on issues,” she said.

An open data hub, one of the flagship projects proposed by the consortium and an initiative that would see Bendigo organisations share information, would also foster collaboration, she said.

For example, Ms O’Rourke envisaged the newly available data assisting the historical research for the Aspire faith centre slated for construction alongside the Sacred Heart Cathedral.


This article courtesy of the Bendigo Advertiser