• Lisa OpenCities

Next-Gen infrastructure in all new growth

Monday July 2, 2018


Next-Gen national infrastructure and services peak association, Open Cities Alliance today called for new State policy and targets to ensure all new homes and commercial buildings are built with smart solutions for energy, mobility, waste and water.

“Current centralised utility and mobility approaches are locking families and businesses into higher and higher bills,” Open Cities Chair Professor Tim Williams said.

“Dwellings and buildings last for more than 50 years, so it’s essential the infrastructure we put in the ground now will be able to service rapidly changing business operations, community lifestyles and be climate resilient,” he said.

With 18,000 new dwellings approved monthlyacross Australia, governments need to act now and set targets to embed smart infrastructure in new growth areas.

“To meet the needs of businesses and households over the next decade, governments must work with industry on a vision to transition to the future, including new planning regulations enabling 21stcentury infrastructure and services to be installed in all growth areas,” Open Cities Chair Professor Tim Williams said.

Next-Gen infrastructure includes: recycled water and waste, smart poles, solar, batteries, connected microgrids, mobility as a service – including shared mobility, shared data networks including IoT and open telco networks. These simple solutions can reduce household and business expenses.

“A new policy framework for Next-Gen utilities will nurture future infrastructure that is already emerging.  Government should not pick winners, winners are picking themselves in the marketplace and smart government will enable this transition,” Prof. Williams said.

“A new regulatory framework is not a constraint, it makes markets and will create new industries across Australia driving jobs and opportunities, and resource security,” he said.

Next-Gen utility and mobility services like these are transforming communities around the world, offering innovation, jobs, economic growth and resilience.

Importantly they are allowing individuals and businesses to own infrastructure themselves and reap the financial benefit.

“Too many Australians are feeling powerless about the growth they see around them, having ownership of local infrastructure will allow them more than just a say, it will give them a stake,” Prof. Williams said.

“Generating and selling free energy from the sun, recycling water and waste and avoiding the second largest household expense of a car by sharing mobility, are just some of the trillion-dollar benefits of a circular economy Australians could also be sharing in.”

Australia’s centralised big pipe in, big pipe out approaches to energy, mobility, telco, waste and water are now up to 75 years old. They are too expensive, not efficient or sustainable.

“What’s holding back this opportunity is unimaginative policy and out-dated regulations and market settings that support business as usual,” Prof. Williams said.

“Updating our new homes and buildings with smarter services is a no-brainer. But we are not seeing it in all new developments.” Professor Williams said. “That’s not fair to Australians who could be generating their own energy, recycling their water and using transport services liked shared cars.

Smart developers are already leading this utility transition - with sufficient lead in time to achieve the transition, it will a win-win for developers and consumers.

“A new roadmap for Next-Gen utilities in new growth will ensure Australians get future-proofed homes and a share of the billion-dollar infrastructure investment nationally.

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