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SCP E300 Moving Beyond the Pilot – Embedding Smart Communities, with Laura Baker; Nathaniel Mason, James Peet and Rory Brown

Hi #smartcommunity friends! In this episode of the Smart Community Podcast we are so excited to bring you our very first podcast panel, which was recorded live at the beginning of June 2022. We were joined by Laura Baker from the City of Casey in Victoria and who is also the President of the Australian Smart Communities Association (ASCA). We had Nathaniel Mason from the City of Tea Tree Gully in South Australia, James Peet from Moreton Bay Regional Council in Queensland, and we also had Rory Brown from the Smart Places Program in the Cities and Active Transport Division in New South Wales. We proudly partnered with the Australian Smart Communities Association to bring you this very special episode, as we discuss how to embed Smart Communities. In this episode we begin with an Acknowledgement of Country, our panelists tell us about their backgrounds, and Laura also tells us a bit about what ASCA does as well as the Smart Casey launchpad. We then hear from James and he tells us about the asset scanning and Smart park projects Moreton Bay Council have been running. Rory then tells us a bit about the Smart Places strategy and some of the initiatives involved, we then hear about the City of Casey’s Digital Equity Living Lab that has just been introduced, before Nathaniel tells us about the Connected Cities project the City of Tea Tree Gully has been working on. Rory then discusses some interesting projects, including the Smart planning portal, the 3D modeling work they have done with some Western Sydney councils, and the Smart irrigation work they have been managing at Sydney Olympic Park. We finish our panel chat discussing the key elements to embedding Smart Communities in our organisations. This is a really exciting episode, a little bit longer than normal and we really hope you get a lot out of it. As always, we hope you enjoy listening to this episode as much as we enjoyed making it! 

Listen here: 

What we cover in this episode:

  • Acknowledgment of Country 
  • Panelist introductions from Laura, Nathaniel, James and Rory
  • A bit about the Australian Smart Community Association and what they do
  • The Smart Casey launchpad, which is the City of Casey’s approach to Smart Community initiatives 
  • The Asset Scanning system project Moreton Bay Regional Council have, and what is involved as well as the impacts it has made to the council and the Moreton Bay region
  • The Smart Places Strategy and the initiatives involved in the strategy 
  • The Digital Equity Living Lab the City of Casey have just introduced 
  • The Connected Cities project that the City of Tea Tree Gully has, the Marion project with the City of Marion, and the impacts these projects have made in some South Australian regions
  • The Smart Parks project Moreton Bay Regional Council has been working on 
  • The Smart Places Smart Planning portal and the use of that data the portal will allow, the 3D modeling work they have done with Western Sydney councils and the Smart irrigation work they have been managing at Sydney Olympic park 
  • The most important steps to consider to embed Smart Communities in our organisations


“[ASCA’s] main focus areas is how do we push the Smart Community agenda forward so that people and communities are at the centre of the technology and digital age.” ~ Laura Baker 

“A lot of the work that we’re doing around advocating for Smart Cities at Moreton Bay is just explaining that this is about using data like you’ve never used [data] before, to supercharge the things that you’ve always done.” ~ James Peet

“What [Moreton Bay Council] is trying to do is effectively create a line of sight between every smart Initiative and the strategic initiative that it’s enabling or measuring. So as we’re starting to mature, that’s how we’re trying to pare it down to the real part of the business as opposed to just lots of small projects.” ~ James Peet 

“[Smart Places’] team mantra is simply delivering great places and outcomes for people by supporting that consistent, seamless play space approach to using these technology and data solutions.” ~ Rory Brown

“[The City of Casey] decided that we wanted to have more of a strategic approach to how we looked at the Smart City landscape. We knew that there was a lot of exciting things happening, but we wanted to really contextualise it to the City of Casey.” ~ Laura Baker 

“[Smart Communities] is about community value, that’s what counsellors are there for, so [City of Tea Tree Gully’s] approach is that, if it adds value to the community, then it’s worth doing.” ~ Nathaniel Mason

“​​We can’t do everything, we don’t intend to do everything. But how do we set things up that mean other people can do something with it. Whether it’s sharing data, or whether it’s creating a place. Whatever that initiative is, it’s creating that creating space, for someone else to do it.” ~ Nathaniel Mason

“There is this interesting friction I find sometimes especially with Smart, when the cost to do something is in a different place to where the benefit is going to be realised.” ~ Rory Brown



Moreton Bay – Smart Park initiative

City of Casey – Digital Equity Living Lab

City of Casey Open Data Exchange 

City of Tea Tree Gully 

Smart Places: DPIE 

Smart Places Customer Charter


Find the full show notes at: www.mysmart.community 

Connect with Laura via LinkedIn

Connect with Nathaniel via LinkedIn

Connect with James via LinkedIn 

Connect with Rory via email: smartplaces@planning.nsw.gov.au  

Connect with me via email: hello@mysmart.community  

Connect with My Smart Community via LinkedIn or Twitter and watch on YouTube

The Smart Community Podcast is produced by Perk Digital


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