The Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet is to be commended on its Smart Cities Plan. Australia is a highly-urbanised country and the sustainable growth of our cities is central to our collective continued prosperity.
Australia needs to continue to grow its knowledge-based industries to counter the slowdown in our resources sector.
The Smart Cities Plan correctly identifies that Australia’s growth as a knowledge based economy goes hand in hand with the growth of our cities. The plan highlights jobs and human capital as two essential elements.
Convention bureaux market our cities internationally. They are funded by city and state or territory governments in partnership with local hotels, conference centres, meeting facilities and support services. They are responsible for attracting global talent to our cities for major gatherings.
New ideas are crucial to Australia's future prosperity. New ideas rely on collaboration.
Meetings and conferences spark innovation.
Business events are not only important economic drivers for cities but they are also reputation builders for cities.
Fringed by beaches, our safe, secure and modern cities are highly aspirational destinations for visitors from many nations.
With highly-acclaimed food, clean air and recreational activities, our major cities are particularly attractive to Asian visitors.
Yet our cities’ ability to attract major conferences is slipping as our rivals across therein raise their game. New facilities and stronger investment are luring more of the knowledge-transfer events offshore.
With the investment in convention centres primarily the responsibility of the states or territories, there is an ability for the federal government to help fill the infrastructure.
Through a targeted bid support fund, Australia can recapture its place in the top ten of convention host countries again.
Convention bureaux market
cities as destinations
There are more than 12 convention centres and large meeting venues in Australia. These facilities are in urban locations and the bulk are in our major central business districts.
Unlike state tourism boards, convention bureaux market cities as destinations. Each markets their destination to corporate meeting planners, conference organisers, international associations and incentive travel buyers.
Unlike state tourism boards, convention bureaux are public-private partnerships between local government, state government and city businesses. Across the globe convention bureaux have evolved as the preferred model of city destination marketing. Today only around 10 percent of cities do not have a dedicated convention bureau.
The Association of Australian Convention Bureaux (AACB) brings together the 16 most influential convention bureaux from Australia’s major cities and regions.
As such, we welcome the opportunity to provide comment on this important and ambitious city plan.
The Smart Cities Plan will position our cities to succeed in the 21st Century economy. It is a plan for supporting productive, accessible, liveable cities that attract talent, encourage innovation and create jobs and growth.
It represents a new framework for cities policy at the federal level - and it is a framework that will guide action across various portfolios, to deliver better outcomes for our cities, the people who live in them and all Australians.
The Smart Cities Plan sets out the Australian Government’s vision for our cities - metropolitan and regional - and its commitment to smart investment, smart policy and smart technology.
All Australians are encouraged to share their ideas to help shape the cities agenda.