Australia invented the technology underpinning Wi-Fi, along with the ‘black box’ flight recorder, ultrasound scanners and the heart pacemaker – just to mention some of our globally recognised innovations. We have an enviable track record when it comes to technology.
And yet, apparently Prime Minister Scott Morrison just wants us to adopt other country’s technologies these days. This week he told us, “we’re not trying to create the next Silicon Valley here in Australia. That’s not it. We’ve just got to be the best at adopting (other country’s technology)”.
Back in January I wrote about my disappointing time at the helm of the Australian Smart Communities Association. Since then all the Annual Reports have been taken down from the ASCA website. This happened only days after I’d asked for a copy of the latest report, having noticed that it had not been posted on the website along with all the others.
When I inquired about the return of these reports I was informed that they had been removed as part of a major website upgrade. While I couldn’t quite understand the logic of the argument (no other changes have been made to the site) I nevertheless accepted it and repeated my request for a copy of the latest Annual Report. Despite numerous subsequent requests I still have not received one.
Australia has roughly the same land mass as the United States yet a fraction of the population. Despite accommodating 300-plus million people only a handful of American cities are anywhere near the size of greater Sydney or Melbourne.
Government agencies all argue immigration creates economic growth. So it’s not about how many of us there are, it’s about where we all live.
In The Fifth Estate’s report on the conference, it said: “By 2053, about 89 per cent of all Australians are expected to live in capital cities. As more and more people enter these cities, residents are becoming increasingly concerned with impacts on liveability”.
One of the solutions proposed was to build more public transport systems within cities, and specifically in the case of Sydney to continue the current trend for building new metros.
I’ve recently taken the opportunity to discuss with people what really makes communities smart. The answer, of course, is smart people. Technology will underpin the future as we become an increasingly connected world, but technology alone will not provide all the answers. Indeed it will be the smart use of technology that will make the difference.