Rocky goes the smart way with technology with new strategy

THE Rockhampton Region is today one step to closer becoming Australia's first Smart Regional Centre after council unanimously endorsed a strategy to better use technology in the region.

Rockhampton Region Mayor Margaret Strelow said Smart City technologies have been used around the world to assist governments and businesses to make better, targeted decisions.

"From maximising the use of existing infrastructure and keeping people safe in disasters to encouraging innovation in key industries, this technology has proved itself time and again," Mayor Strelow said.

"Council now has a strong plan to use these technologies to build a stronger economy and deliver better local services."

Initiatives today endorsed by council include free Wi-Fi in designated public spaces, a new digital museum which will display information on smart phones as tourists travel around the region, a new mechanism for locals and tourists to know what's happening in the Region, a number of new smart CCTV cameras in known trouble areas, smart billboards, as well as releasing Council's data for public use. This may include data such as water treatment and traffic information, no personal information will be released. 

Council have also announced they are committed to establishing a Smart Hub on the riverfront.

"The Smart Hub will bring together all of the vital ingredients to maximise the chance that people who are starting a business will succeed," Mayor Strelow said.

"We look forward to welcoming the first participants in the Hub who will have access to affordable workspace, mentors, collaboration and funding opportunities as well as some real-world business problems from key players in the region."

Neil Glentworth, Executive Chairman of consulting company Glentworth who authored the report said that Rockhampton are amongst the first Australian cities to focus on the use of these technologies to grow the economy and improve liveability of the area.

"Every city is currently looking at ways they can stimulate the economy and provide better services to their community cheaper," Mr Glentworth said.

"Rockhampton is at the bleeding edge of using this technology in Australia and is the first regional centre to go down this path.

"Cities across Australia and around the world will have an eye on the benefits for the region."

The initiatives included in the plan are expected to directly create at least 288 full time equivalent (FTE) jobs, including 95 direct jobs and 193 flow-on jobs. They are also expected to help grow local business, increase public safety, grow the population of the region and increase the use of underutilised areas.

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