A series of dynamic smart cities projects helped the City of Parramatta win the coveted Leadership City award at the third annual Smart Cities Awards presented virtually this year by Smart Cities Council Australia New Zealand.

The City of Parramatta was one of 18 winners announced across seven categories of the Smart Cities Awards for their visionary leadership, best practice projects and real-world impact. In a pandemic-affected year, these smart cities leaders of Australia and New Zealand used technology and innovation to drive their efforts in tackling the challenges of COVID-19.

“This year’s winners have played key roles in the national advancement of smart cities across Australia and New Zealand, while also leading a digitally-enabled and data-driven recovery from COVID-19,” says Smart Cities Council’s executive director Adam Beck.

Four individuals were recognised as Smart Cities Leaders for their leadership. City of Ipswich Mayor Teresa Harding was recognised for delivering Australia’s first ‘smart transparency and integrity hub’; Nicole Stephensen from Ground Up Consulting got the nod for her work in reframing privacy as an opportunity, rather than a roadblock; Sean Audain from Wellington City Council was acknowledged for harnessing technology to build resilience to earthquakes, sea level rise and other natural disasters, thereby, saving lives; and Lake Macquarie Council’s Claire Chaikin-Bryan was recognised for playing a pivotal role in expanding the use of IoT in council operations, supporting local innovators and encouraging community digital and data literacy.

“Smart cities innovators have been laying solid foundations for several years, and some of these multi-year projects have been rewarded in 2020. But COVID-19 has also accelerated smart cities efforts in 2020, and we are seeing greater data sharing, digitally-supported services and community engagement in smart cities innovation.

“Together, our winners demonstrate the central role of smart cities in enhancing services for communities, building prosperity and enhancing resilience. 2020 confirmed that people are at the centre of the smart cities movement,” Beck added.

Smart Cities Awards 2020 Winners

Policy Leadership Award

This award recognises government entities that are guiding their smart cities and digital transformation investments using best practice policy.


City of Darwin – Privacy Framework

Highly commended:

North Sydney Council – North Sydney Smart Cities Strategy

City of Adelaide – 10 Gig City

Data Leadership Award

This award recognises organisations transforming their actions and investments based on data insights and doing so in a way that respects privacy and promotes social good.


Moreton Bay Regional Council – Artificial Intelligence

Highly commended:

SYSTRA Scott Lister – Level Crossing Removal Program

City of Greater Geelong – Geelong Data Exchange

Future of Place Award

This award recognises a project that applies technology and data solutions in the public realm and built environment to deliver outcomes to the economy, society or the environment.


Lake Macquarie City Council – Smart Beaches

Highly commended:

Christchurch City Council – EQRNet

City of Canning – Wharf Street Basin

The Impact Award

This award recognises organisations that have deployed technology and data solutions with a quantifiable impact on the economy, society or the environment.


City of Casey – Direct Care Workers

Highly commended: 

Meshed IoT – COVID-19 Pedestrian Index

Newcastle City Council – Lean in Newy

Smart Cities Leader Award

This award recognises an individual who has made a significant contribution to advancing the smart cities movement.

Winner Elected Official: 

Mayor Teresa Harding, City of Ipswich

Winner Private Sector:

Nicole Stephensen, Ground Up Consulting

Winner Public Sector:

Sean Audain, Wellington City Council

Winner Emerging Leader:

Claire Chaikin-Bryan, Lake Macquarie Council

Leadership City Award

This award recognises local government organisations demonstrating world-leading liveability, workability and sustainability outcomes for their citizens from investment in technology and data solutions.


City of Parramatta Council

SDG Action Award

This award recognises organisations harnessing technology and data to progress the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.


City of Canterbury Bankstown – Closing the Loop

Highly commended:

City of Melville – Smart Grid

Image: The Conversation