Software, cloud services and outsourcing partner, Civica, has launched a program aimed at encouraging local government customers to partner and develop solutions that access grant funding from the Federal Government Smart Cities and Suburbs initiative.
The scheme, which was unveiled on 17 March by Assistant Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation, Angus Taylor, aims to provide co-funding for the rollout of technology and data solutions in local communities.
The purpose behind this $50 million Smart Cities and Suburbs Program is to improve the “liveability, productivity and sustainability” of Australian cities, suburbs and town, and encourage collaborative smart city projects.
Eligible organisations including local governments, private companies, not for profits and research organisations, are encouraged to apply for grants of between $100,000 and $5 million to fund up to 50 per cent of eligible project costs.
However, eligible activities must align with one or more of the four program priority areas, which includes smart infrastructure, smart precincts, smart services and communities, and smart planning and design.
Civica will be supporting this initiative by providing access to internal expertise and external consultants that have the experience in securing public sector grant funding to assist its clients with project scoping and grant applications.This comes off the back of Civica’s recent work with the City Of Rockingham to develop Rock Port, its update of legacy software for the WA library network, and more than $103 million Victorian government contract to replace the government’s legacy system with a custom-built infringements management system named VIEW.
Civica Group also recently announced the formation of a dedicated business unit, Civica Digital, to support the digital transformation agenda.
Combining a number of recent acquisitions, and leveraging existing capability such as Contact360, a local government solution for citizen engagement and service delivery; the unit delivers solutions for Civica customers in Australia.
The Federal Government has also been extensively pushing its $10 billion digital transformation project, with the hire of former NAB banker, Gavin Slater, as its new digital transformation agency chief executive. Slater replaces Nerida O'Loughlin, who led the agency since its relaunch in October 2016.
“It is great to see that the council is taking action to enhance communications and engagement with its citizens to offer the best technology services that are tailored to their needs,” he mentioned.
However, it received some backlash from the Labor Government, which has called for an “independent, arms-length review” of digital transformation efforts by the government and its growing ICT spend, according to InnovationAus.
The report stated that Labor Government digital economy spokesman, Ed Husic, said technology failures within the government, such as the Census debacle and the ATO outages, have resulted in additional dollars spent on ICT implementations.
“This is offensive. This can’t go on. It will undermine digital transformation and set back the process. The Opposition believes that the only way forward is for the government to do what it’s previously shown an eagerness for – submit its entire digital transformation process to review.
“It needs to be independent. Done at arms-length,” Husic said in the report.
Civica said funding applications close on 30 June.