High-tech plan to future-proof city

Taelor PeluseyBusselton Dunsborough Times
The City wants to get “smart” with technology.
Camera IconThe City wants to get “smart” with technology.

A driverless bus, widespread wi-fi and digitised library systems are just a handful of initiatives the City of Busselton is rolling out to future-proof the region and capitalise on emerging technologies.

The Smart City Strategy was presented to the council in draft form this week and has been designed to help the City draw on funding opportunities such as the Federal Government’s Smart Cities Plan.

City community and commercial services director Naomi Searle said the region was one of the fastest growing municipalities in Australia and it was expected the demand for people to live locally but work remotely would increase significantly in coming years.

“The demand for smart technology in the region is already established and it extends across all sectors — business, education, medical, environmental,” she said.

“Embracing technology and becoming ‘smart’ is vital to the City’s long-term sustainability, hence the need for a strategy.”

The next cab off the rank is the RAC’s driverless, fully electric Intellibus — set to roll out this month or next.

“By giving Western Australians the chance to see and experience the technology, we gain a better understanding of what will be required to prepare WA for our driverless future,” RAC advocacy and members executive general manager Patrick Walker said.

The initiative is the first public demonstration of a driverless bus in regional WA and follows last year’s switching on of free wi-fi across the Busselton foreshore.

Free wi-fi aims to better connect locals and improve tourism outcomes.

While the strategy was not adopted this week, it is understood it will be revised and reconsidered later this year.

Busselton councillor and Unix system engineer Ross Paine said it was imperative the strategy’s details were properly hammered out.

“It’s important that the City gets this right because it’s infrastructure that will enable the City and its residents to make better decisions in all spheres, from major projects to how to get to work,” he said.

“We also need to make sure that we’re being conscious with the privacy concerns and not just signing up to the first vendor that comes along.”

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