The Australian Government has made its first grants under its Smart Cities and Suburbs Program.
The grants are to Darwin to ‘switch on’ the city, and to a number of smaller projects in Perth. The program, announced in March 2017 has earmarked $50 million for projects across Australia, with 40 percent of the total to be located in regional areas.
Darwin is the big winner from the first round of grants, with $5 million awarded to the City of Darwin and the Northern Territory Government, who will each contribute $2.5 million to the $10 million project.
The money will pay for the installation of CCTV cameras at entrances to the city and on Daly Street and Bennett Street in the CBD. Street lighting will be upgraded to LED lighting and on ‘smart’ columns with the capacity to adjust lighting to reduce street crime.
In Bicentennial Park along the Darwin foreshore, smart lighting will include sound monitoring to detect people in distress and potentially notify policy and emergency services.
No mention was made in the announcement of the fact that the ‘street crime’ and ‘people in distress’ are mostly homeless or indigenous people. The NT Government has recently announced a program to address ‘anti-social itinerant behaviour’ on Darwin’s streets.
Homeless (‘itinerant’) Aborigines (‘’Indigenous people’ hanging around the streets, often drunk and engaging in petty street crime, is a major problem in Darwin. In September a video of a shop owner using a hose to move one in the centre of town caused a minor storm.
Darwin’s free city Wi-fi network will also be expanded in key tourist and shopping areas. Smart parking sensors will indicate available parking, intended to reduce congestion and emissions.
Perth has also been awarded $6 million in technology grants under the Smart Cities and Suburbs Program.
This was originally published by Government News.