Connect Innovate Achieve is the cornerstone of the LGAQ’s philosophy.
In the Innovation area, the LGAQ continues to deliver on a strategy that aims to help councils to be the best possible in terms of improving productivity while playing a key role in the local digital economy.
This is being achieved by raising awareness of what is possible in their local area, future directions and trends, piloting and testing technology and ongoing lobbying of the Commonwealth and State governments to ensure telecommunications remains on the political agenda as it delivers those critical networks for participation in the digital economy.
The past 12 months has seen some significant achievements:
Queensland councils are the only councils in Australia participating in a Commonwealth Government scheme that allows voice calls on a congested mobile phone base station to have priority. The main use is during a severe weather event or other disaster activity, as WPSS allows key decision-makers and LDMG members to stay in contact whereas calls made by the general public could fail because of congestion
An allocation of 250 licences to the LGAQ has seen about 120 services in operation, which includes numerous mayors and CEOs having the service available on their existing mobile phones. In addition, the LGAQ provided Telstra-ruggedised handsets to front-line managers who are on the ground managing events.
Participation in the digital economy relies on having access to telecommunication network and services.
In Queensland, some councils still do not have the basic telecommunication infrastructure – scalable backhaul in the core network and access services such as mobile phones and other exchange-based infrastructure that provide consumer and enterprises services.
The recent announcement of the Commonwealth Government’s $100 million Mobile Black Spot Program will result in $385 million in infrastructure being spent nationally for 499 new mobile phone base stations and the associated backhaul. In Queensland, $53 million will be spent on 68 new sites.
Importantly, the commonwealth has already announced that it would provide an additional $60 million for Round 2 of the scheme.
The LGAQ continue to lobby and raise awareness with key Commonwealth and State leaders about the need to ensure that our towns and strategic highways and developments have the necessary infrastructure to ensure genuine participation in the digital economy.
At the same time, work is underway to look at areas in the Gulf, Cape York and Torres Strait region as well as continuing to assist councils in southwest Queensland improve their towns.
The LGAQ has developed a concept called the innovation roadshow which aims to raise awareness of productivity through the use of technology. It involves raising awareness about existing and planned telecommunications infrastructure, future directions, case studies of what councils are doing in other parts of Queensland and Australia in regards to improving productivity through innovation.
Nineteen councils have attended workshops this year, in which presentations from organisations such as Apple, Telstra, Navman and the Queensland Government provide detailed examples of programs that are aimed to assist councils to improve their digital awareness and the opportunities that results
The LGAQ is working closely with LGIS in a market-sounding exercise to understand the opportunity of applying UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles), or drones, to the local government market. The study aims to identify those suppliers with the skills and capability as well as exploring the plethora of applications that could be used in a local government environment – ie animal and pest management, disaster management, asset management etc.