GWI Australia

Put data at the centre of a city deal

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Last week, the Queensland Government and Council of Mayors (SEQ) released a joint pitch to the Commonwealth Government for an SEQ City Deal, highlighting 35 key opportunities in a document called ‘TransformingSEQ – The SEQ City Deal Proposition’.

At GWI, we have been involved in the conversation for some time. In 2015, we authored a report ‘South East Queensland: A Smart Region’ (funded by Cisco) for the SEQ Council of Mayors, outlining a shared vision to improve public services using digital technology and real-time data. A large community engagement initiative was undertaken, and the results suggested south-east Queenslanders generally understood and welcomed the benefits that the use of data could bring to the region.

In negotiating the proposed south-east Queensland City Deal, we believe data will be an extremely valuable asset to cut-through debate and champion those projects that will deliver the most social and economic value to SEQ communities.

What is a City Deal?

A City Deal is a genuine partnership between the three levels of government — local, state and federal — and the community to work towards a shared vision for productive and liveable cities. The deal works to align the planning, investment and governance necessary to accelerate growth and job creation, stimulate urban renewal and drive economic reforms. City Deals will help to secure the future prosperity and liveability of our cities.

They’re a rare and powerful opportunity for three tiers of government to work together. Further still, it’s an opportunity for the SEQ councils to cut through inefficient processes and remove red tape.

Lessons learned

We are acutely aware of the challenge a City Deal presents to the different levels of government negotiating amidst competing economic and political priorities. Data is one way of removing emotion from the deal to ensure the best possible outcome for the community. An example includes the sharing of information between the three tiers of government to:

  • standardise services and regulations across Council boundaries
  • prioritise infrastructure investment
  • better understand the needs of a diverse range of communities.

As Liverpool City Council CEO Kiersten Fishburn highlighted at a Committee for Brisbane breakfast on 20 February 2019, some of the key lessons for SEQ include:

  • the need for strong governance
  • respecting differences and contributions that can be made by all three levels of government and industry
  • bringing communities and their representatives along for the journey
  • negotiating in good faith on behalf of the region.

Without a doubt, data will help to make better decisions on where and what to invest in to make SEQ better, not just bigger. We look forward to joining in the conversation at the City Deals website.

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