To help underpin the 2016 Smart Cities Plan, the Turnbull government has now released its National Cities Performance Framework interim report.

According to the aims of the report, the performance of Australia’s largest cities against key metrics including jobs and skills, infrastructure and investment, liveability and sustainability, innovation and digital opportunities, governance, planning and regulation, and housing will now be tracked.

Launched by the Assistant Minister for Cities, Angus Taylor, the National Cities Performance Framework Interim Report is designed to promote excellence in our cities.

“The Australian Government’s Smart Cities Plan aims to create the foundations for success across all cities and regional centres. If we can’t measure it, we can’t improve it,” says Taylor.

The Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) says the Smart Cities Plan is an important milestone on the road to creating smarter policy around cities.

According to the GBCA’s Chief Executive Officer, Romilly Madew, this release demonstrates the Turnbull government’s commitment to putting the ‘smart’ into its Smart Cities Policy.” 

Asked as to what is the GBCA’s concept and or definition of a ‘smart city’, Madew says, "There are a wide range of definitions available, but the Australian Government’s Smart Cities Plan is about “smarter city policy” – and that means not just using real time data and smart technology, but also more strategic investment and greater collaboration between all levels of government to deliver common goals. In the context of the Framework, this is a useful definition of a smart city."

“One of the most important features of the Framework will be its online indicator dashboard. For the first time, every Australian will have easy access to data that helps them understand how our cities are performing, and how governments are delivering outcomes meaningful for them,” Madew says. 

"Australia’s cities rank highly on a range of liveability indices for good reason – we have clean air, safe communities, access to world-class healthcare and education, and an inclusive society. But as our cities grow, we must address the challenges that come with that growth – congestion, housing affordability, inequality and pollution – we therefore risk our prized quality of life," she says.

“The Framework must drive sustainability across our cities and help deliver City Deals that leverage existing industry leadership, like that demonstrated through Green Star, to deliver improved outcomes for communities,” says Madew.

"The interim report should support a new discussion about the performance of our cities – where over 80 per cent of Australians live. We need to think carefully about what is most relevant to measure and evaluate this performance."

"The Australian Government is now asking for feedback on the interim report until 18 August. The GBCA will be submitting our feedback before this deadline," she says.

Taylor says that the framework will be completed by the end of this year and has invited public comment.