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                    [post_date] => 2017-09-21 21:12:04
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                    [post_content] => 

Peter Tran

Whether citizens realise it or not, most cities are on the cusp of becoming smart cities through the use of connected information systems that have the ability to ‘learn’, interact and scale across multiple domains and critical services. These include healthcare, transportation, public safety, supply chains, water and energy/grid. Add another layer to this with the rapid growth of the Internet of Things (IoT), and it’s clear that many communities will have smart capabilities in the next few years.

With the rise of smart cities, however, comes the associated danger of bad actors seizing control of critical systems through IoT or other vulnerabilities. The cities of tomorrow are here today and hacking isn’t a futuristic, science fiction idea, it’s a reality that governments and its citizens need to consider as part of their day-to-day living. Just over two years ago hackers seized control of the power systems in several cities in Estonia, knocking out the electricity for over 100,000 residents. Compounding the problem was that the hackers were able to remotely trip circuit breakers forcing power plant workers to visit substations and manually flip a switch to restore energy services.

It’s with the rise of IoT that we will see cities move from simple interconnection to being ‘smart’. Gartner estimates that by 2020, there will be in excess of 20 billion internet connected devices around the globe, and that number will only grow. Where the danger lies is in the nature of IoT devices, which are defined by function and connectivity, not security. IoT devices are designed to be inexpensive, ubiquitous, fast and highly connected, but little thought has gone into making them ‘security aware’, to monitor and detect for threats from bad actors.

So where is the problem? With the rise of smart cities, IoT devices are being used as sensors for traffic monitoring, to keep track of pedestrian numbers, air quality, urban congestion and flag when public garbage bins are reaching capacity. Street lamps are linked into the public information system to turn themselves on when pedestrians are around. Traffic lights report back on road congestion, and the list goes on. Put simply, if there’s a function that can be made smarter, then it probably will be.

As we’ve discovered, however, these sensors are designed to be cheap, fast and interconnected. Not secure. So a traffic system could have a critical integration point to a power system. A garbage monitor could provide a sensor pathway into water treatment, while air quality monitors could eventually provide an insecure path back into a city’s core ERP and financials. Gaps in security could allow hackers to take control of financials, effectively shutting down the city because workers can’t be paid and taxes can’t be remitted.

Good security means good practices

The way to monitor and defend against risks and threats is to apply good security practices to IoT. Just because an air quality sensor isn’t a core system, doesn’t mean that it is exempt from the very information security practices that keep a city’s ERP, financials and disaster recovery safe.

Where progress needs to be made is in adapting current effective security protocols and practices at scale to federate to the massively growing world of IoT. This means examining where security blind spots could be, designing smart cities by function, monitoring functional relationships between IoT sensors, moving to IoT specific device and data authentication, access, authorisation relationships and detecting for and responding to behavioural anomalies across sensors from core information systems in a centrally controlled manner… the IoT ‘map of the earth’.

Legislation is also an important tool in protecting cities against IoT vulnerabilities. Recent laws proposed in the United States have called for baseline IoT security for equipment being sold to the US federal government. These laws would stipulate that there are no hard-coded universal passwords, and that IoT devices are standardised to meet certain security requirements such as being patch capable against flaws discovered in the future.

In Australia, where the Australian Government has declared that the nation should become a leader in smart cities via its 2016 Smart Cities program, laws about the security aspects of IoT haven’t been contemplated. The closest Australia has come is with a study from the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner looking at the privacy aspects of IoT devices, which was conducted during 2016.

This review of privacy could provide the basis for IoT laws governing security, however that remains something that hasn’t yet been proposed domestically. In essence, Australia is slip-streaming global moves on IoT security, and hoping that moves like the proposed legislation in the US will also provide protection for devices being sold and installed in the domestic market.

Looking for the upside

It’s not all doom and gloom when it comes to smart cities and IoT. Security aside – and we can’t forget security is a major issue – smart cities have the potential to radically improve the quality of life of its citizens. This could come through the better and timelier provision of current and new connected living services and more efficient provision of government and private sector services.

The IoT could, for example, be a literal life-saver when it comes to natural disasters in Australia and around the globe. Sensors installed in communities could pinpoint areas that are no-go zones, conduct audits of the movement of traffic and streamline evacuations, as well as identify areas of damage due to wind, water or fire as well as geolocation of citizens in need of emergency rescue.

What’s clear is that the door has opened onto smart cities and IoT. The proliferation of IoT devices and their interconnection with city systems means that, with little planning, communities will become smart by default.

The key to making this transition work is twofold. First and top of mind, security considerations needs to be addressed. This is something that can happen using existing security best-practice and protocols. It’s not necessary to reinvent the wheel when it comes to IoT security. Instead, what needs to happen is that security must become part of the design of smart cities, and security needs to be an ongoing life cycle of IoT, not something that is a ‘one hit wonder’.

The second aspect and equally important of becoming a smart city is data integrity. Sensors generate masses of data, and smart cities need to have technology and processes put in place to analyse data in the context of smart city critical function, in order to directly align to the connected lives of its citizens and determine in real time if there are indications of compromise and/or risk.

With those two aspects in place, smart cities are achievable, quality life enhancing, safe and cyber secure.

Peter Tran is GM and Sr. Director of Worldwide Advance Cyber Defence Practice, RSA.
                    [post_title] => The rise and risks of smart cities
                    [post_excerpt] => Smart cities are possible and, indeed, inevitable with smart management from governments.
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                    [post_date] => 2017-09-19 09:28:31
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                    [post_content] => 

New Zealand leads the world in zero emission renewable grid electricity now at 85%. With a nice balance between geothermal, hydroelectric, unusually continuous wind power and some solar, the country has less intermittency of green power than most.

Transpower NZ, the government-owned power company, made NZD 208.4m profit in 2016-17 (AUD 190m) and has investigated grid-scale battery systems for near-term investment.

Battery storage under investigation

Building energy storage systems across New Zealand would represent an economic ‘game-changer’ for the country within the next few years, according to new research by national grid owner-operator Transpower.

The company said its research findings show distribution-connected or community-scale batteries are expected to be economic for homes and business from 2020— promising “real potential and benefits from batteries for New Zealand consumers”.

Now Transpower is preparing to conduct trials of battery storage systems, while working with industry leaders to push for market and pricing reforms the company said will be needed to “unlock the value of battery systems to maximise their value”.

Transpower’s general manager for grid development Stephen Jay said: “We are actively evaluating opportunities for using new technologies throughout our network. We are preparing for what that future looks like and this battery research is the first of a number of reports we will release looking at technologies that could possibly have an impact on our business.

“Battery projects at lower voltage distribution substations and at a consumer level are forecast to be economic in the next few years, due to the declining cost of battery systems,” Mr Jay said. “Over time, we believe they will also become economic for the high voltage transmission grid and this will then provide battery resilience across the whole supply chain.”

Mr Jay said Transpower is not planning large-scale high voltage trials with batteries “in the near term— but we will seek opportunities to work with and learn from others in joint projects where appropriate.”

According to Transpower’s study, the functionality of a battery as both a load and a generator at various times “will need to be examined, and regulatory and technical barriers to entry addressed”.

In the long-term, the study said battery storage at any location in the supply chain is expected to delay or replace the need to build additional thermal peaking plant and should over time reduce the cost of electricity to consumers.

Container-based battery storage systems in the order of 1-2MW “have the advantage that they can be implemented relatively quickly to target specific grid constraints in a controlled manner”, the report said. They can be ‘right sized’ for the first year of need, “with the possibility of increasing the storage capacity over time if load growth occurs”. This would “optimise initial capital expenditure and leverage the declining cost curve of future expansion”, the report said.

In addition, the report said ramping up battery storage projects would support national plans to boost the take-up of electric vehicles. According to Transpower, there are currently around 3,000 electric vehicles in the country, but government policy is targeting 64,000 vehicles by 2021-22.

“In future, we expect that electric vehicle batteries could have the capability to be part of a battery network, providing services when the vehicle is plugged in to charge overnight,” Transpower said.

With IDTechEx. You can download the Transpower report here.
                    [post_title] => NZ hits 85% renewables, profitably
                    [post_excerpt] => NZ Government makes $190m from electricity, focuses on renewables and grid battery storage.
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                    [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_28053" align="alignnone" width="300"] Cameron Offices on the corner of College Street and Chandler Way, Belconnen, ACT. Source: Wikipedia user Adz.[/caption]

With the aim of driving greater efficiency in the management of the Commonwealth’s property portfolio, three property service providers have been appointed.

The providers are Broadspectrum Property Pty Ltd (Broadspectrum), Evolve FM Pty Ltd (Evolve FM), and Jones Lang LaSalle (ACT) Pty Ltd (JLL). They will provide leasing and facilities management services to over 90 Commonwealth entities.

These appointments are part of the Government’s plan to realise further savings in excess of $100 million in property-related expenditure over the four years of the contracts, including through consolidating the Commonwealth’s buying power.

The new property service provider arrangements complement other efficiency measures already in place, including Operation Tetris (see below), which had a goal of realising savings of $300 million over 10 years through reductions in surplus leased property holdings.

The appointment of the providers followed an open tender process and represents strong outcomes for Indigenous business and small to medium enterprises (SME). Each Property Service Provider has committed to exceed the Indigenous Procurement Policy targets of 3 per cent for levels of Indigenous employment and/or engagement of downstream contractors. The Property Service Providers are also required to meet or exceed the Government’s SME targets of 10 per cent of downstream contract value.

Broadspectrum and JLL are large, established global providers. Evolve FM is an Australian-based, Indigenous-owned company.

The appointments are for an initial term until 30 June 2021, with possible extensions of up to a further four years.

Operation Tetris squeezes more in

The Department of Finance’s property efficiency program consists of:
  • Absorbing entities’ lease requirements, where feasible, into existing vacant office accommodation (Operation Tetris) undertaken in the ACT in 2015-16 and rolled out nationally from 2016-17.
  • Ensuring that leases and other property services are delivered through coordinated procurements that will maximise the Commonwealth’s substantial purchasing power.
In support of Operation Tetris, the government established a ‘Whole-of-Australian-Government’ coordinated procurement system for property-related services. This arrangement covers leasing services and property and facilities management for domestic office accommodation and shopfronts. The coordinated approach for property-related services is designed to improve the efficiency of property services across the Commonwealth and maximise the value for money that can be achieved by consolidating the Commonwealth’s purchasing power. All non-corporate commonwealth entities (NCCE) will be required to commence using the arrangements for their outsourced property needs once their existing contracts expire. NCCE will, however, be able to enter into new contracts, including any extensions or expansions to existing property-related arrangements (excluding leases), as long as those contracts expire before 30 June 2018. Lease arrangements will remain subject to Resource Management Guide 504 (RMG 504) in respect of endorsement by the Minister for Finance. Since the national roll-out, the government claims Operation Tetris has successfully filled over 60,000 square metres of vacant and surplus office space in the ACT and a further 7,000 square metres in other capital cities, including:
  • A reduction in the median work point vacancy rate from 20.9 per cent (2015) to 13.8 per cent (2016).
  • A reduction in net lettable area leased by the Commonwealth from 3.13 million square metres in 2015 to 2.89 million square metres in 2016.
  [post_title] => Govt outsources office management [post_excerpt] => The Commonwealth has appointed three service providers to manage its property portfolio. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => commonwealth-outsources-office-management [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-09-18 13:30:37 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-09-18 03:30:37 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=28052 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [3] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28007 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-09-12 10:13:13 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-09-12 00:13:13 [post_content] => Southern Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (SSROC) and Veolia Australia and New Zealand have opened the Mechanical and Biological Treatment (MBT) facility at Woodlawn Eco-precinct in the town of Tarago, located 240 kilometres from Sydney, NSW. Previously, the town of Tarago was home to the adjoining Woodlawn Mine site drilling for zinc, copper, lead, gold and silver. For SSROC and its member councils this has been an almost 10-year journey from the initial concept to the delivery of a $100 million state-of-the-art MBT facility that in this financial year alone will save the six councils more than $9.5 million collectively. President of the Southern Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (SSROC) Inc., Cr Sally Betts said: “For SSROC and our councils, reducing the impact of our household waste is a priority, with Sydney-siders responsible for generating around 2,000 kg of waste per person. The new MBT facility is a cost effective and sustainable way of reducing the quantity of waste that ends up in landfill.” The Woodlawn MBT facility will use cutting-edge resource recovery technology to produce compost to rehabilitate an on-site mine. Household municipal waste will be rotated in large drums along with air and water to separate compostable material from inorganic, recovering recyclables such as metals along the way. This process will divert 55% of household waste from landfill, transforming residual waste into clean heat for the on-site barramundi farm and green energy for the grid. General manager of SSROC Namoi Dougall recognised the dedication of SSROC member councils to delivering value for money and sustainable solutions to their residents: “In NSW, our councils are paying a levy of $138 per tonne of municipal waste, so by diverting more than half of our waste from landfill we are estimating that the six participating councils will be saving ratepayers $9.5 million in the first year alone. It is a sign of the dedication and foresight of our councils, that we have worked to establish this project for nearly 10 years. This is a positive step in the way we process waste, and I look forward to the MBTs evolution over the coming years.” The SSROC region is host to a newly established Veolia waste transfer terminal at Banksmeadow, which will transport containerised waste by rail to the new Woodlawn MBT facility. The use of rail, including the existing Clyde site, to transfer the waste will result in a reduction by around 30,000 heavy truck movements on Sydney’s already congested roads. Veolia’s executive general manager - Eastern Region Danny Conlon said: “The facility will process 144,000T of waste per annum and will divert more than half of participating councils’ general waste tonnes away from landfill. Ten years of collaboration amongst a number of stakeholders, inclusive of SSROC, NSROC, state government and community members have led us to this end-result, and this partnership will enable Veolia to make a positive impact on the NSW Government’s diversion target of 70 per cent by 2021. This project will also save millions of dollars in waste levy charges for Sydney’s ratepayers and will additionally produce an organic compost to be used to rehabilitate Australian mining land, ultimately allowing us to give back to the nation’s people and communities.” The collaboration with Veolia has generated over 50 jobs have between the Banksmeadow and Woodlawn facilities. [post_title] => Sydney councils adopt new waste management technology [post_excerpt] => SSROC and Veolia ANZ have opened an advanced Mechanical and Biological Treatment (MBT) facility. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => sydney-councils-adopt-new-waste-management-technology [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-09-15 11:35:35 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-09-15 01:35:35 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=28007 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [4] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28003 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-09-11 14:47:14 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-09-11 04:47:14 [post_content] =>   Australia should start work immediately on a new way to ensure reliable electricity supplies, according to a new Grattan Institute report. Next Generation: the long-term future of the National Electricity Market calls for preparatory work on a ‘capacity mechanism’ to encourage investment in new electricity generation and reduce the threat of shortages and blackouts. The report warns, however, that the costs of such peace of mind would ultimately fall on consumers through higher electricity prices. So a capacity mechanism should be introduced only if all other market reforms have been exhausted and supply is still under threat. Through a capacity mechanism, generators would be paid not only for the electricity they produce to meet current demand, but for committing to provide power for years into the future. The market operator or retailers could contract for sufficient electricity to meet future demand, to ensure new generation and storage is built in time. “Australians have endured a decade of toxic political debates about climate change policy, South Australians suffered a state-wide blackout last year, consumers across the country are screaming about skyrocketing electricity bills, and energy companies are shutting down big coal-fired power stations,” said Grattan Institute Energy program director Tony Wood. “It is understandable that governments feel the need to ‘do something’. But the danger is they will rush in and make things worse. What Australia needs now is perspective, not panic.” The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) last week called for a ‘longer-term approach’ to ensure electricity supplies. The Grattan report identifies a capacity obligation on retailers as the most effective and lowest-cost approach. The report calls for a three-step policy. First, the Federal Government should implement all recommendations of the June 2017 Finkel Review, including a Clean Energy Target or a similar mechanism to price greenhouse gas emissions. Second, alongside the Australian Energy Market Commission’s work on the market’s reliability framework, AEMO’s annual assessment of future supply and demand should be extended to include a more comprehensive assessment of the future adequacy of generation supply. And third, if the newly created Energy Security Board concludes that projected shortfalls are unlikely to be met under the current market design, AEMO should introduce a capacity mechanism. “This pragmatic, planned approach offers the best prospect of affordable, reliable, secure and sustainable power for Australians,” Mr Wood said. [post_title] => Grattan report calls for a capacity mechanism in electricity [post_excerpt] => How to make sure Australia has enough electricity in the future: Grattan Institute report. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => grattan-report-calls-capacity-mechanism-electricity [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-09-11 14:47:14 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-09-11 04:47:14 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=28003 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [5] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27975 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-09-08 10:00:57 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-09-08 00:00:57 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_27976" align="alignnone" width="300"] The NorthConnex in Sydney is one of IA's projects.[/caption] In time for Julieanne Alroe commencing her role as the new chairwoman of Infrastructure Australia (IA), the organisation has begun the process of updating its Infrastructure Priority List (IPL), with the next full edition to be published in February 2018. Welcome Julianne Roe – and four more Chief executive of Infrastructure Australia Philip Davies welcomed Ms Alroe to her new position, who has been a member of the board since 2015. In turn, Ms Alroe welcomed three new board appointments — Deena Shiff, a former senior Telstra executive, Andrew Ethell, a former senior Toll executive, and Dr Peter Wood, a former Evans & Peck executive. They will be joined in January 2018 by Reece Waldock, the former Director-General of the Western Australian Department of Transport. Updating the IPL As part of this update, Infrastructure Australia is calling on Australian governments and non-government bodies to identify infrastructure problems and opportunities of national significance. The 2018 IPL will build on the current list, with new initiatives to reflect emerging infrastructure priorities across Australia, as well as update existing initiatives. Infrastructure Australia says it is open to submissions for all types of infrastructure, including programs of related works and programs for network optimisation. The submission period will close on 27 October 2017. Mind the framework Proponents should align their submissions with IA’s recently updated Assessment Framework. The Infrastructure Australia Act requires that the Assessment Framework be reviewed at least every two years. This ensures that it remains current, and consistent with similar frameworks used elsewhere in Australia and overseas. The Assessment Framework sets out the process Infrastructure Australia uses to consider initiatives and projects for inclusion on the Infrastructure Priority List. The Assessment Framework provides information about what Infrastructure Australia does and how initiatives and projects are assessed, to enable proponents to develop their submissions. The Assessment Framework was most recently updated in June 2017 with a focus on improving usability and readability. This included:
  • Merging the Assessment Framework overview and the detailed technical guidance into a single document.
  • Updating the existing templates, and developing new checklists, to simplify the submission process for proponents.
  • Providing better clarity on the role of Infrastructure Australia and the proponent at each step of the five-stage assessment process.
Proponents can make a submission via the Infrastructure Priority List—Call for submissions page.   [post_title] => Infrastructure Australia is open to new ideas [post_excerpt] => Infrastructure Australia has begun updating its Infrastructure Priority List. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => infrastructure-australia-open-new-ideas [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-09-08 10:22:10 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-09-08 00:22:10 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=27975 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [6] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27968 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-09-08 09:21:52 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-09-07 23:21:52 [post_content] => Helen Masters Unmanned aerial vehicles or drones have been a source of concern for local governments and regulatory authorities. While there are restrictions on the use of drones in public spaces for recreation, councils have a strong business case on the benefits of using drones to maintain and manage public amenities and physical assets. Drone technologies work with Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) software to deliver insights that go beyond basic maintenance and security activities. As local councils face tighter budgets, the biggest challenge is to have a hold of how facilities and assets that are spread over land, sea or in distant or awkward locations are performing. The synergy between drones and EAM helps improve the inspection process and allows councils to document asset conditions from public spaces such as parklands to building, facilities and infrastructure in an automated and more strategic manner. Brisbane City Council has demonstrated how drone images have been used to conduct inspections on council buildings, monitor wildlife populations in parks and to evaluate the potential for turf and event management. The use of drones will allow councils to assess if their public spaces will need pest or weed control in addition to regular maintenance work. Councils operating in regional or remote locations are often challenged with managing assets in places that may be difficult or dangerous to reach. At other times, these areas could be difficult to access such as the rooftop of building structures where machinery is situated. Instead of scaffolding and manually inspecting equipment on tall buildings, images from drones can provide technicians with valuable viewpoints and details about critical assets without having to physically attend to a site. Expanding the lifecycle of facilities and infrastructure requires monitoring performance and conducting preventative maintenance of each council asset. This is particularly important for critical infrastructure that cannot fall over such as security systems, drainage systems or public roads. With drones, the ability to deliver high-resolution imagery helps maintenance crews determine where to focus their attention and resources. Going beyond photographic images, drone technology can even supply infrared and x-ray images to detect structural issues or dangerous leaks in an environment that may be potentially unsafe for humans. These advancements ensure drones have an embedded role in facility management, fleet management and asset management by expanding the capabilities of field crews. Over time, physical inspections can be replaced with drones capturing historical images for real-time assessments. With the widespread adoption of rooftop solar photovoltaic systems in local council buildings, a drone with infrared thermal-imaging features can survey solar panels to identify damaged panels for maintenance. The use of drones alone only solves one part of the challenge faced by today’s asset managers. To achieve the most of this technology, data and imagery must be paired with a sophisticated asset management system that incorporates historical records, maintenance standards and other sensor information to assess conditions and determine maintenance requirements. This includes the identification of corrosion, detecting hairline cracks, spillages or leaks, to perform dilapidation assessments or land surveys. Data collected from each of these areas must be assessed and captured in real-time by a receiving asset management program. Asset managers would be able to cross-reference the condition of assets today in real time against the condition of assets from previous images or sensor readings. Through this process, they can determine the next course of action in the asset management lifecycle by comparing this data against manufacturing or industry standards. A comprehensive asset management strategy that includes drones for inspections provides a meaningful alternative strategy to traditional asset management. Such solutions have the ability to shift operations and maintenance processes from a reactive to proactive mode. Bringing drones, sensors and comprehensive asset management solutions together can help councils extend the useful life of their critical assets. As budgets and resources become increasingly scarce in local governments, drones could be the solution for councils looking to proactively manage their critical and valuable assets. Helen Masters is the vice president and managing director of Infor South Asia-Pacific and ASEAN. Footnote: US futurist Thomas Frey, speaking on the future of drones at the World of Drones Congress in Brisbane predicts there will be one billion drones worldwide by 2030 (in this he includes land- and water-based UAV as well).   [post_title] => Local councils and drones [post_excerpt] => Councils have a strong business case for using drones to maintain and manage public amenities and assets. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => getting-local-councils-board-drones [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-09-08 10:22:28 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-09-08 00:22:28 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=27968 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [7] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27947 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-08-31 21:05:12 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-31 11:05:12 [post_content] => Flat electricity demand puts price rises squarely on network charges: The Audit. The Australia Institute has released the Electricity Update of the National Energy Emissions Audit (The Audit) for August 2017. The report, by energy analyst Dr Hugh Saddler, shows flat demand across the National Energy Market (NEM). “Total annual demand for electricity in the NEM is dead flat. With both national economic activity and population continuing to grow, electricity consumers are continuing to respond to ever rising prices by using electricity more efficiently, as they have been doing for most of the past seven years,” Dr Saddler said. “This year consumers have seen a very sharp rise in electricity price due to generation costs.  However, for the last six years price rises seen by consumers were almost entirely caused by network ‘gold-plating’. “This report shows that electricity consumers are continuing to pay for the policy failures of the last decade in the regulation of monopoly network businesses. “The reduction in brown coal production in the NEM is being met by increased black coal as well as increased renewable production – notably wind power, which bounced back to another all-time production record in July.”  “The retirement of decrepit brown coal plants in Victoria had the potential to limit supply and cause price rises, but South Australian wind has come to the rescue keeping the lights on and putting downward pressure on wholesale prices,” Dr Saddler said. The Audit In June 2017, The Australia Institute launched the National Energy Emissions Audit (The Audit), written by energy analyst and ANU Honorary Associate Professor Dr Hugh Saddler, which tracks Australia's emissions of greenhouse gases from the combustion of fossil fuels. The National Energy Emissions Audit will be published on a quarterly basis, in September, December, March and June each year. In each intermediate month the NEEA Electricity Update will report on changes to emissions from electricity generation in the National Electricity Market (NEM).     [post_title] => Electricity update [post_excerpt] => Flat electricity demand puts price rises squarely on network charges. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => electricity-update [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-31 21:05:12 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-31 11:05:12 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=27947 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [8] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27939 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-08-31 15:12:30 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-31 05:12:30 [post_content] => Shannon Gillespie Today, everyone knows that an idea isn’t a good one until it ‘trends’. Last year, the City of Sydney’s Zero Waste marketing campaign featured the creation of an outdoor vinyl sticker campaign that made use of clever situational placement and optical illusions to highlight the problem of dumping household waste throughout the city. Designed for city dwellers to interact with, each piece was customised to its environment to amuse and educate people about the city’s free pickup service. One of the installations was a giant stack of household waste on the side of a building that increased in size every week for three weeks. As a by-product, the hashtag #freepickup and bookafreepickup.com site shot to stardom as people snapped and shared photos of themselves with old fridges, washing machines and the like in odd, but memorable, locations such as the middle of a cycle path. The result, the City claims, was “a virtual doubling of the number of calls to the free pickup service within a week of installation”. Imagine if we took the principles of this social marketing campaign and applied it to our engineering problems. How often do we spend megabucks on infrastructure projects, but do relatively little, if anything, to educate people about the right way to operate infrastructure or to change their behaviours when using it? The 2000 Sydney Olympics was hailed as “the best organised Olympic Games ever” and was the epitome of how an effective marketing and communications plan can solve complex problems. With a population of four million people and an expected influx of half a million visitors to Sydney for the Olympic Games, drastic measures were required to cope with the pressure on infrastructure. But instead of focusing on developing new transport infrastructure, a major public communications plan was executed to modify the travel behaviour of visitors and spectators. The message was simple – Olympic transport will be different but will work well. And it did! The Sydney Olympic Games achieved the first-ever 100 per cent spectator accessibility by public transport. As engineers, our natural response is to design highly sophisticated and intelligent infrastructure that automatically adapts itself to meet the demand. We design complex and expensive control systems to control infrastructures performance and operation. The infrastructure is designed to modulate in response to the variables which, in most cases, are people. But are we looking at society’s complex challenges through the wrong lens? The recent heatwave in South Australia put pressure on the state’s electricity network due to people turning on their air conditioning. As a consequence, 90 000 properties suffered a blackout during load shedding at the end of a 42 degrees Celsius day. While the problem appears to have been a technical one, could we not have modified the behaviour of the people? Experts say that in order to conserve energy in a heatwave, people should not lower their air conditioning below 26 degrees Celsius – this has nothing to do with the comfort of individuals but everything to do with avoiding a catastrophic power outage. Whilst it may not be a long-term solution, an effective marketing campaign would help solve the problem in the interim. We are living in a world where more than ever before, we need our facilities to operate as efficiently and effectively as possible  ̶  not only from an environmental perspective but also from optimising the use of capital. According to the World Economic Forum, global spending on basic infrastructure – transport, water and communications – currently totals USD 2.7 trillion a year, USD 1 trillion short of what is needed. The difference is nearly as large as South Korea’s GDP. As pressure on our natural and economic resources increases, so too does our ability to design effective infrastructure projects. If engineers treated marketing as another tool in their toolkit, how many of our complex infrastructure problems could be solved? How many millions of dollars could be saved on new infrastructure projects simply through marketing campaigns targeted at changing user behaviour? More and more, engineers should be telling their clients that a well-designed behavioural campaign should go hand in hand with a well-designed infrastructure project. In future, we might see Marketing Fundamentals become a standard feature of the Bachelor of Engineering curriculum. Shannon Gillespie is with Aurecon. [post_title] => Facebook and infrastructure [post_excerpt] => What does Facebook have to do with infrastructure? Everything, it would seem! [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => facebook-and-infrastructure [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-31 20:02:46 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-31 10:02:46 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=27939 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [9] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27932 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-08-29 10:19:44 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-29 00:19:44 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_27933" align="alignnone" width="300"] Photo (L-R): Stewart Seal (The Hills Shire Council Manager of Forward Planning – Strategic Planning), Janelle Atkins (Hills Shire Council’s Acting Manger of Forward Planning – Strategic Planning, Maria Kovacic (Founder of Western Sydney Women and on the board of The Hills Community Aid), Julian Leeser MP, Mayor Yvonne Keane MP, Chris Johnson (CEO of Urban Taskforce), Councillor Ray Harty, Maria Scott of PAYCE, Michael Edgar (General Manager of The Hills Shire Council) and Stephen McIntyre (Chief Executive Officer of Wentworth Community Housing).[/caption] In a first for Local Government, Mayor of The Hills Shire Councillor Yvonne Keane has introduced a new planning model, the Transitional Housing Policy Framework, that recognises the importance of transitional housing and highlights the lack of current stock. The model encourages willing developers to provide a small number of transitional dwellings within new developments in return for an ‘uplift’ in development yield. The framework provides incentives to assist local government and other not-for-profit organisations provide a safe and temporary home for those escaping from domestic and family violence. It is different from social and affordable housing – see below for a detailed explanation. “For some time, I’ve been thinking of ways in which The Hills Shire Council might play a key role in delivering tools to help our community respond to domestic violence. We have a wonderful women’s shelter, The Sanctuary, but the missing link is transitional housing,” Mayor Keane said. “Transitional housing provides safe, comfortable and secure accommodation for women and their children to recover, re-build and make informed and empowered decisions about their lives and their future. “It is the essential ‘next-step’ towards real independence. Without it, a woman is faced with the possibility of returning to the cycle of violence. “The real beauty of this model is that it provides a mechanism to swiftly create a supply of transitional housing – and it does so at no cost to the community and the state and federal governments. “I am so enormously proud of the proposal to solve the transitional housing issue in The Hills and I am even more proud that it was unanimously supported by council,” Mayor Keane added.  CEO of Women’s Community Shelters Annabelle Daniel said moving on from domestic and family violence is a process that can take a number of years and the council’s Transitional Housing Policy Framework would help provide more homes to those seeking assistance. “Stable, affordable transitional housing, where women and children continue to receive support from people they trust, helps them enormously in building lives free from abuse,” Ms Daniel’s said.  “Supported accommodation, such as that encouraged by this proposal, will ensure women can focus on stability, opportunity and contribution, for themselves and for their children.” CEO of Wentworth Community Housing Stephen McIntyre welcomed the leadership of the council in responding to family and domestic violence and expanded on the important role that transitional housing can play to ensure its success. “This innovative policy will promote partnerships between property developers and community housing providers to provide much needed transitional housing, providing a safe home and pathway to future independence,” Mr McIntyre said. “The community housing sector is well regulated with annual compliance required against national standards. This means that providers like Wentworth are ideally suited to ensure the properties are professionally managed and that women and children are well supported during their transition period.” The model allows for transition dwellings to be provided in well-located and serviced areas at no direct cost to council, federal and state governments and the community. The planning proposal is currently being assessed by the NSW Department of Planning and Environment as part of the Gateway Process. Developers come on board The Transitional Housing proposal by The Hills Shire Council is fully supported by the developers’ body Urban Taskforce, as it has appropriate incentives to encourage developers. “The Council proposal is to encourage developers to provide a single apartment for a 10-year period by allowing two extra apartments above the current planning limits,” said Urban Taskforce CEO Chris Johnson. “This approach is similar to the Urban Taskforce proposal to providing affordable housing for a ten-year period through an uplift in floor space and height. The development industry can contribute subsidised housing over a ten-year period if the incentives for extra floor space are sufficient to make this economically viable.” “A number of Urban Taskforce members who are developing apartment projects in The Hills Shire Council area, including Sekisui, Mirvac, Aqualand, Dyldam and PAYCE, have expressed their support for the Transitional Housing proposal. Major developers like PAYCE have run the numbers over the proposal and believe it is a viable approach to help provide the subsidised housing that council is encouraging.” What is Transitional Housing? Hills Local Area Command reported that approximately five cases of domestic violence are reported per week within The Hills, which equates to up to 245 cases per year. While those cases are seen to by the local police, many more go unreported. As well as the immediate crisis, there are long term issues that need to be attended to when someone is put into this position – this can often involve having to leave their family home or worse their community, which can sometimes be quite difficult for the victim. Transitional Housing provides refuge and protection to those, particularly women and children, escaping from abhorrent scenes of domestic and family violence, and needing a temporary and secure place to stay. It is important that residents feel safe, comfortable and secure in their community so they can rebuild self-esteem and make empowered and informed decisions about their lives. Together, Mayor Yvonne Keane and The Hills Shire Council worked to create a potential mechanism to encourage and incentivise the provision of transitional housing within new residential development throughout The Hills. This mechanism proposes an additional clause to the Hills Local Environmental Plan 2012, and has been put forward to the Department of Planning and Environment for Gateway Determination. If agreed, this will enable further consultation with stakeholders and the community prior to being finalised. How does it work? For the policy to work effectively, the council decided that for a small portion of uplift in developments, particularly around the rail corridors, that an enormously large social issue could be solved. A floor space incentive was therefore suggested, where developers can have the opportunity to incorporate a small portion of transitional housing in their high density development. The provision ensures that it would facilitate only a moderate uplift in residential yield, to prevent unreasonable impact on surrounding residents. The incentive would be voluntary and would ensure that the developer retains the ownership of the transitional homes. The proposed provision will have the following characteristics:
  • The policy will only apply to residential flat buildings and shop top housing developments within the R4 High Density Residential, R1 General Residential or B4 Mixed Use zone;
  • The bonus floor space ratio will be available if the development includes a minimum of 50 dwellings (excluding ‘transitional group home dwellings’);
  • The bonus floor space shall not exceed 10 per cent of the maximum floor space ratio permitted on the site, up to a maximum of 900m2 gross floor area (capped regardless of the site area);
  • An additional 300m2 of gross floor area would be available for every ‘transitional group home’ provided, which would allow for two bonus dwellings (each with an average internal floor area of no less than 100m2 gross floor area) comprising:
  • One ‘transitional group home’ (to be used as a group home (subject to agreement with a suitable provider/s) and then returned to the developer after a period of use - potentially 10 years); and
  • Two standard dwellings above the yield otherwise achievable by the developer;
  • The maximum additional yield achievable within the bonus floor space will be nine dwellings (of which three would need to be a ‘transitional group home’);
  • The timing of the developer’s incentive is staged:
    • Upfront: two bonus (unrestricted) dwellings; and
    • After 10 years: one bonus dwelling (when use as a transitional dwelling has ceased).
The proposed provision has been prepared in consultation with service providers and the development industry. Where is it at? Transitional housing within The Hills was urged and supported by speakers Annabelle Daniel of Women’s Community Shelters, Detective Chief Inspector Jim Bilton from the Castle Hill Local Area Command, and Maria Kovacic from Hills Community Aid at the 25 July 2017 Council Meeting. Their feedback was that all possible mechanisms are to be viewed as the need for a safe community is paramount, and it is council’s responsibility to consider pathways to keep women and children safe. As a result of the overwhelmingly positive feedback from stakeholders and fellow councillors, a planning proposal is currently with the Department of Planning and Environment for Gateway Determination. Should a Gateway Determination be issued by the Department of Planning and Environment, the planning proposal will be exhibited for public comment. Council will then consider a post exhibition report and make a decision as to whether to progress the amendment to finalisation.   [post_title] => The Hills Shire Council pioneers Transitional Housing [post_excerpt] => The Hills Shire Council has introduced Transitional Housing into council policy. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => hills-shire-council-pioneers-transitional-housing [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-29 10:35:08 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-29 00:35:08 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=27932 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [10] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27929 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-08-29 09:33:09 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-28 23:33:09 [post_content] => Yvonne Keane Martin Place’s recent tent city has highlighted the plight of homeless people in search of finding stable and lasting accommodation. Sadly, the face of homelessness is changing, with more and more women finding themselves without a home. A large proportion of this growing and vulnerable demographic are domestic violence survivors and their children. According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, domestic violence makes women and children more susceptible to homelessness in two major ways: firstly, violence removes a sense of safety from the home; and secondly, escaping a violent situation requires the woman and her child/children to leave the family home. As a society we have been treating domestic violence and homelessness as two separate issues for too long now and I think it is time to ask ourselves the question: “Do our current established domestic violence and homelessness services really meet people’s current needs?” From my experience, the answer is ‘no’.  As the chairwoman of the board of a women's shelter in Sydney’s North-West, called The Sanctuary, I know that crisis shelters do meet a critical need for women and children who wish to escape unimaginable home lives. However, crisis accommodation – which is available for up to three months - only provides part of a solution in enabling the most vulnerable and at risk community members to live independent lives. And what of the many survivors who might never access a shelter? What about their struggle to find stable and long-lasting accommodation? And even if you are lucky enough to find safety and refuge at a shelter, you will still face the hard, painful next step in the process - finding housing that is safe, affordable and appropriate for you and your families. And so we find that survivors become caught up in an ongoing cycle of fleeing from and returning back to violence because of the lack of stable housing. It's what we call in the sector a 'barrier' that women face on the pathway to safety and independence.  For children, the trauma of frequent moves, topped off with unstable living environments continues the trauma of being exposed to situations of domestic violence. In my role as both mayor of The Hills Shire and chairwoman of The Sanctuary, I have many conversations with members of the community about domestic violence. I constantly hear the same question over and over again: “Why don’t women just leave?” Given the reality of housing affordability and the rising cost of living, this question pretty much answers itself. For some time now, I have been thinking of alternative solutions in which my council could play a role in delivering the resources required to help our community respond to women and children escaping unimaginable scenes of family violence. We have wonderful women’s shelters, and complementary wrap-around services, across the state and in The Hills, but the missing link is something called transitional housing. When I became mayor, I found myself in the perfect storm of opportunity. I came up with a way in which I thought that we might be able to help deliver vitally needed transitional housing to our community and along with key council staff, started to research how we could turn this idea into a policy. Transitional housing is different from affordable housing and from social housing. Transitional housing is the essential ‘next-step’ towards a life of real independence. It ultimately provides a safe, comfortable and secure place for society’s most vulnerable, to recover, re-build, thrive and make informed and empowered decisions about their lives. The aim of 'transitioning' is to help women to ultimately achieve wonderful and independent lives, not lives entirely dependent on social housing. And on Tuesday, 25 July 2017, The Hills Shire Council made history after my fellow councillors and I unanimously voted to implement the Transitional Housing Policy Framework.  Very simply, this framework will provide a supply of transitional housing in our community and do this at no cost to Council, rate payers or the government. Our innovative policy proposes a new provision in The Hills Local Environmental Plan 2012 which provides a capped bonus to encourage willing developers to provide transitional housing as part of new residential developments. The policy would allow a developer who meets the criteria, to build two additional dwellings for every transitional home provided. And we have capped the 'uplift' to a maximum of three transitional homes per development. While the numbers of transitional units would be relatively small in the overall scheme of things, the benefit it could provide for our most vulnerable could be enormous. The transitional homes would remain the property of the developer and would be managed by community housing providers or not-for-profit organisations, and would be returned to the developer after a set period of time. I am so enormously proud of this policy and I am even more proud that we will be the first council in the country to offer a new model for transitional housing and deliver it in such a way that there is no cost to the ratepayer. For me, this is a pinnacle achievement of my time as mayor and probably the most important thing I will ever do in my life. In NSW, the Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, Pru Goward, has said that all ideas are on the table, and I hope to gain her support, and the support of NSW Cabinet to use this model to change the lives and futures of women and children across NSW as a starting point. It is my great hope that other councils will look at adopting my model – which delivers at no cost to them – as a way to genuinely solve the problems within their own communities. Even greater still, it is my hope that state and territory governments will look at this model and support its adoption as an effective solution across the country.  I have no doubt that this policy will change the lives and the futures of the most vulnerable in our community.  Investing in transitional housing for women leaving family and domestic violence makes sense. No one should ever have to choose between staying with an abusive partner or becoming homeless.  Councillor Yvonne Keane is the Mayor of The Hills Shire Council, Chair of the Board of the Sanctuary, sits on the NSW Women's Council for Economic Opportunity and is an elected Director of Local Government NSW. [post_title] => Why Transitional Housing? [post_excerpt] => Transitional Housing: the cooperative solution that could solve housing for the homeless. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => why-transitional-housing [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-29 10:34:36 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-29 00:34:36 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=27929 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [11] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27921 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-08-28 16:12:30 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-28 06:12:30 [post_content] => The Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA), the Internet of Things Alliance Australia (IOTAA) and the Smart Cities Council Australia New Zealand (SCCANZ) have announced they will collaborate to build the street of the future in Sydney’s CBD. The installation - The Future Street - is to be part of AILA’s national Festival of Landscape Architecture, a four-day event on conceiving, reimagining and transforming the outside world from streetscapes to parks and playgrounds, transport solutions to tourism strategies, to new suburbs and even cities. AILA CEO Shahana McKenzie said: “The Future Street is the culmination of numerous converging ideas around landscape, infrastructure and technology, that have resulted in a unique collaboration to help imagine the important role our streets can play in the future.” SCCANZ executive director Adam Beck described the event as a project that “provides us with the opportunity to show government, industry and the community the exciting outcomes from weaving the digital, natural and built environments together in this important public space: the street.” The idea behind The Future Street originated from an event run by AILA and SCCANZ in late 2016, where a number of planning and design professionals gathered to reimagine the role of streets under a range of disruptions, such as climate change, autonomous vehicles, and rapid technological change. The third partner of The Future Street, IOTAA, has joined AILA and SCCANZ to help deliver a showcase of the Internet of Things (IoT). IOTAA CEO Frank Zeichner said of the installation: “This project provides the opportunity to showcase the benefit of IoT to our cities, economy, and the community. IOT provides the opportunity to grow Australia’s competitiveness, innovation landscape and liveability, by connecting data, devices, people, processes and things to the internet. It helps people make better and more informed decisions to get the best possible outcomes.” The Future Street will be open for public viewing during the Festival of Landscape Architecture, from 12-15 October 2017, and showcase a range of landscape, IoT, utilities, transport and urban design and place-making features. The installation will be supported by a program of topical discussions and case studies. It is also planned that the installation will gather and report on real-time data, highlighting the capabilities of technology and the effectiveness of various deployed strategies. If you are interested in being part of the installation contact Shelley Kemp at shelley.kemp@aila.org.au.   [post_title] => Industry and government collaborate on streets of the future [post_excerpt] => The Future Street is the culmination of numerous converging ideas around landscape, infrastructure and technology. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => industry-government-collaborate-design-streets-future [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-28 16:14:13 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-28 06:14:13 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=27921 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [12] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27904 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-08-24 21:20:52 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-24 11:20:52 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_27905" align="alignnone" width="300"] Artist's impression of Sydney Metro Waterloo station.[/caption]   Alok Patel Everyone’s talking about smart cities. Local councils are in the enviable position to make them a reality. Local government is the level of administration closest to the people, and councils are best placed to know what technologies are going to improve the lives of their constituents. In addition, local government areas can be mobilised far more quickly than they can be through the federal or state government to facilitate change. Now, here’s the rub. Councils are also among the worst to pitch to. They are mired in complex bureaucracy and often have outdated procurement processes that are no longer fit for purpose. We recently held a series of roundtables to examine the challenges and opportunities that smart cities present. Participants included experts in start-ups, communications, business, construction and local government. These experts, who were able to offer different perspectives on dealing with all levels of government, named local councils as the great hope of smart cities innovation. But they also pointed to reforms that are needed to realise them. To begin with procurement, current processes favour project delivery by big corporates (purely due to their financial ability to weather the cost of onerous government compliance and processes), typically resulting in a less innovative approach. Visionary start-ups may not even reach tender stage after being dissuaded by the abovementioned onerous procurement compliance burden. Dump the thin, bureaucratic straw In addition to this bottleneck, cutting-edge technology is not being deployed because there is still a central planning mentality rather than an iterative start-up mentality that could more effectively deliver solutions. Local council hierarchy and procurement processes can slow or even stymie progress. As one participant said, “the current council structure is one CEO, five departments and 2,000 staff, using procurement processes that go back 40 to 50 years”. While there is investment being made by the private sector in speculative technology,  there is little hope of any of this cash making it through what ends up being a very thin bureaucratic straw. The way forward is for councils to partner with private enterprise to develop cheap, small, proof-of-concept innovations that can be quickly altered or dumped with little cost in much the same way that John Maxwell recommends that you “fail fast, but forward” – or learn from your mistakes and use what you’ve learned in your next cunning plan. In this way the private sector can take the risk – meaning the lion’s share of the expense – while councils reap the benefits and no small kudos for improving the lives of their residents; and, importantly, saving them time and money. Councils already showing the way One way government could move more quickly would be to embrace the iterative approach discussed above, where technology is proven on a small scale, then picked up in other areas. This type of approach in turn lends itself to creative financing options: investments are no longer so massive that only large corporations can propose a solution. Instead, smaller players can bid for projects using models that break investments into funding parcels over a 12 to 24-month period, with returns coming within five years. Already, there are self-contained precincts already being built in New York City, The Hudson Yards, and Yeerongpilly Green in Brisbane, and on a smaller scale, the green space of the Finery in Waterloo, Sydney. None of these projects would have been possible without the blessing of far-sighted local council pioneers. All are built on top of or near railway stations - the new Waterloo Metro station for Sydney’s Finery and New York City Hall extending the 7-line train in Manhattan to service The Yards. These are just some examples of how the private sector is teaming up with local governments to create a prototype smart precinct for citizens – or in the case of The Yards, a city within a city with its own microgrid – with green spaces, pools or water features, and high levels of walkability. While the private sector is coming to the party and acknowledging the way forward to smart cities, it is up to government give a ‘big-picture’ commitment to ensuring quality of life and happiness of its citizens. Roundtable participants were also excited by the opportunity for smart cities to go beyond social cohesion and improve citizens’ connectedness to the government. Improving people’s lives today This call for a vision for the smart city and a commitment to the happiness of the people is a crucial element to come from our roundtables. This is achievable now. While we should not be daunted by undertaking tasks that will take years to complete, what matters is wellbeing, now. And the financing options outlined above show the way forward. With the technology we have available, Australia has the ability and the opportunity to build smart cities and improve people’s lives today. Our goal must be an improved urban space where people can be their best as they live, work, trade and play in comfort and safety. The avantgarde councils that will pave the way will reap rewards beyond savings, awards, recognition, swank and the glory of seeing scaled-up versions of their advances implemented around the world. They will improve the lives of their citizens. Alok Patel is the CEO of Azcende, a venture capital firm in the smart cities space. He is also the author of Habitats for Humans, a white paper that came out of a recent series of roundtables held in Sydney and Melbourne, which is available to download here.   [post_title] => Local councils can be the vanguards of smart city reform [post_excerpt] => Everyone’s talking about smart cities. Local councils are in the enviable position to make them a reality. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => local-councils-can-vanguards-smart-city-reform [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-24 21:27:50 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-24 11:27:50 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=27904 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [13] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27899 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-08-24 17:44:41 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-24 07:44:41 [post_content] => The Cross River Rail business case released by the Queensland Government “demonstrates it will create jobs, bust congestion and be the catalyst for a world-class turn up and go public transport system”. Deputy Premier and Minister for Infrastructure Jackie Trad said the Cross River Rail Business Case 2017 details the challenges and opportunities facing South East Queensland’s (SEQ) rail network. “[We] have fully funded Cross River Rail and we are getting on with the job of building it,” Ms Trad said. “The business case demonstrates what we have already known for a decade – we need another rail crossing to increase rail services in the South East and the solution is Cross River Rail. “Our rail network has a key choke point at its core preventing extra train services being brought into regions like the Gold Coast, Logan, Caboolture and the Redlands. “Nearly 2 million people will move into SEQ over the next two decades and with some lines, like the Gold Coast, already operating at 100 per cent capacity during peak periods, we need to build Cross River Rail before we reach a crisis point. “It will unlock smarter integration of rail and bus networks, providing quick turn up and go services and positioning SEQ for a more sustainable and competitive future “The business case specifically states the full benefits of both Cross River Rail and the Brisbane Metro can only be completely realised once both projects are constructed and are operational. Ms Trad said the business case incorporated the latest information on the impact of policy and demographic changes over the last 12 months. “The BCR for the project is now 1.41, up from 1.21 in the 2016 Business Case. This means that for every $1 invested in the Cross River Rail project, $1.41 is returned to the people of Queensland,” Ms Trad said. CRR business case key findings include:
  • For every $1 invested in the project, it returns $1.41 to the people of Queensland.
  • The project will generate an average of 1,500 jobs each year over the construction period, with a peak of 3,000 in the most intensive year.
  • CRR will provide capacity for ‘turn-up-and-go’ services.
  • CRR will help reduce pressure on the region’s roads, freeing them up for commercial vehicles and commuter buses.
  • It will enable greater integration of bus and rail services, which will help to maximise the state government’s rail network investments and Brisbane City Council’s investment in Brisbane Metro and improved bus services.
  • Total daily public transport trips (bus & rail) will climb from around 510,000 to more than 880,000 in 2026 and to more than 1.1 million by 2036.
Now get on and build it The detailed business case for the Cross River Rail is a welcome step towards the government improving transparency about infrastructure decisions, said the Infrastructure Association of Queensland (IAQ). Bolstered by expert peer reviews, the latest business case addresses some of the key concerns raised by Infrastructure Australia in their recent project evaluation, including rail patronage forecasts and road user benefits. “Brisbane has a looming capacity problem and Cross River Rail is the smart solution,” said IAQ CEO Steve Abson. To satisfy demands from the Turnbull Government, the business case also reveals possible approaches towards sharing value created by the project. “Because the project includes significant urban renewal and opportunity for major development at station precincts, value capture might create up to 10% of the funds needed for it.” “Most Queenslanders know that some developers and business often receive windfall gains and privately benefit from government infrastructure investment and planning decisions. Capturing and sharing these gains is not easy, but as long as the beneficiaries are fairly identified it can be a pretty reasonable approach,” said Mr Abson. Set to be commissioned in 2023, Cross River Rail is a long-running project that will run across at least two state elections. The IAQ warns of dire consequence should any new government decide to hold off investment. “Both Queenslanders and industry are pretty sick and tired of seeing critical infrastructure used as a political football. Not once in the last eight years have we seen all sides lining up behind our greatest infrastructure project and it’s been through at least three different incarnations to get to an optimum solution,” said Mr Abson. “With funding secured and early works now set to commence before Christmas, the last thing we need is risk of taxpayer-funded cheques written to rip up contracts already placed with local businesses,” he added. The Cross River Rail Delivery Authority will conduct an industry briefing next Wednesday 30/07 where it will outline the procurement approach, details of major work packages, delivery strategy, commercial considerations and governance. It will be held at the Pullman Hotel, King George Square, Brisbane from 2:00pm, Wednesday 30 August 2017. Click here to register. [post_title] => Cross-River Rail: just build it [post_excerpt] => The CRR business case demonstrates it will create jobs, bust congestion and must be built, said the IAQ. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => cross-river-rail-just-build [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-24 21:54:54 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-24 11:54:54 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=27899 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) ) [post_count] => 14 [current_post] => -1 [in_the_loop] => [post] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28084 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-09-21 21:12:04 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-09-21 11:12:04 [post_content] => Peter Tran Whether citizens realise it or not, most cities are on the cusp of becoming smart cities through the use of connected information systems that have the ability to ‘learn’, interact and scale across multiple domains and critical services. These include healthcare, transportation, public safety, supply chains, water and energy/grid. Add another layer to this with the rapid growth of the Internet of Things (IoT), and it’s clear that many communities will have smart capabilities in the next few years. With the rise of smart cities, however, comes the associated danger of bad actors seizing control of critical systems through IoT or other vulnerabilities. The cities of tomorrow are here today and hacking isn’t a futuristic, science fiction idea, it’s a reality that governments and its citizens need to consider as part of their day-to-day living. Just over two years ago hackers seized control of the power systems in several cities in Estonia, knocking out the electricity for over 100,000 residents. Compounding the problem was that the hackers were able to remotely trip circuit breakers forcing power plant workers to visit substations and manually flip a switch to restore energy services. It’s with the rise of IoT that we will see cities move from simple interconnection to being ‘smart’. Gartner estimates that by 2020, there will be in excess of 20 billion internet connected devices around the globe, and that number will only grow. Where the danger lies is in the nature of IoT devices, which are defined by function and connectivity, not security. IoT devices are designed to be inexpensive, ubiquitous, fast and highly connected, but little thought has gone into making them ‘security aware’, to monitor and detect for threats from bad actors. So where is the problem? With the rise of smart cities, IoT devices are being used as sensors for traffic monitoring, to keep track of pedestrian numbers, air quality, urban congestion and flag when public garbage bins are reaching capacity. Street lamps are linked into the public information system to turn themselves on when pedestrians are around. Traffic lights report back on road congestion, and the list goes on. Put simply, if there’s a function that can be made smarter, then it probably will be. As we’ve discovered, however, these sensors are designed to be cheap, fast and interconnected. Not secure. So a traffic system could have a critical integration point to a power system. A garbage monitor could provide a sensor pathway into water treatment, while air quality monitors could eventually provide an insecure path back into a city’s core ERP and financials. Gaps in security could allow hackers to take control of financials, effectively shutting down the city because workers can’t be paid and taxes can’t be remitted. Good security means good practices The way to monitor and defend against risks and threats is to apply good security practices to IoT. Just because an air quality sensor isn’t a core system, doesn’t mean that it is exempt from the very information security practices that keep a city’s ERP, financials and disaster recovery safe. Where progress needs to be made is in adapting current effective security protocols and practices at scale to federate to the massively growing world of IoT. This means examining where security blind spots could be, designing smart cities by function, monitoring functional relationships between IoT sensors, moving to IoT specific device and data authentication, access, authorisation relationships and detecting for and responding to behavioural anomalies across sensors from core information systems in a centrally controlled manner… the IoT ‘map of the earth’. Legislation is also an important tool in protecting cities against IoT vulnerabilities. Recent laws proposed in the United States have called for baseline IoT security for equipment being sold to the US federal government. These laws would stipulate that there are no hard-coded universal passwords, and that IoT devices are standardised to meet certain security requirements such as being patch capable against flaws discovered in the future. In Australia, where the Australian Government has declared that the nation should become a leader in smart cities via its 2016 Smart Cities program, laws about the security aspects of IoT haven’t been contemplated. The closest Australia has come is with a study from the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner looking at the privacy aspects of IoT devices, which was conducted during 2016. This review of privacy could provide the basis for IoT laws governing security, however that remains something that hasn’t yet been proposed domestically. In essence, Australia is slip-streaming global moves on IoT security, and hoping that moves like the proposed legislation in the US will also provide protection for devices being sold and installed in the domestic market. Looking for the upside It’s not all doom and gloom when it comes to smart cities and IoT. Security aside – and we can’t forget security is a major issue – smart cities have the potential to radically improve the quality of life of its citizens. This could come through the better and timelier provision of current and new connected living services and more efficient provision of government and private sector services. The IoT could, for example, be a literal life-saver when it comes to natural disasters in Australia and around the globe. Sensors installed in communities could pinpoint areas that are no-go zones, conduct audits of the movement of traffic and streamline evacuations, as well as identify areas of damage due to wind, water or fire as well as geolocation of citizens in need of emergency rescue. What’s clear is that the door has opened onto smart cities and IoT. The proliferation of IoT devices and their interconnection with city systems means that, with little planning, communities will become smart by default. The key to making this transition work is twofold. First and top of mind, security considerations needs to be addressed. This is something that can happen using existing security best-practice and protocols. It’s not necessary to reinvent the wheel when it comes to IoT security. Instead, what needs to happen is that security must become part of the design of smart cities, and security needs to be an ongoing life cycle of IoT, not something that is a ‘one hit wonder’. The second aspect and equally important of becoming a smart city is data integrity. Sensors generate masses of data, and smart cities need to have technology and processes put in place to analyse data in the context of smart city critical function, in order to directly align to the connected lives of its citizens and determine in real time if there are indications of compromise and/or risk. With those two aspects in place, smart cities are achievable, quality life enhancing, safe and cyber secure. Peter Tran is GM and Sr. Director of Worldwide Advance Cyber Defence Practice, RSA. [post_title] => The rise and risks of smart cities [post_excerpt] => Smart cities are possible and, indeed, inevitable with smart management from governments. 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Planning