A Framework to guide the continued transformation of The Shire a ‘Smart Place’ to live, work and visit through the implementation of new and emerging technologies.
A Draft Smart Places Strategic Framework has been prepared and is on public exhibition.
As technology becomes more integrated into our daily lives, it becomes more accessible and appealing. This shift requires active engagement and decision-making by our Council about how digital infrastructure, technology, and various "smart" initiatives can be used to better our lives.
Our Draft Smart Places Strategic Framework builds upon the overarching strategies outlined in the NSW Government's directives and in our Local Strategic Planning Statement. It also articulates a strategic direction and principles that can help to guide our ongoing journey to transform the Shire into a "Smart Place".
We welcome your input and participation in shaping our community's future.
You can access the Draft Smart Places Strategic Framework and its supporting materials on this page.
The Draft Smart Places Strategic Framework is open for feedback until Monday 11 December 2023.
Click the 'full screen' icon below to view.
Download the Draft Smart Places Strategic Framework(PDF, 44MB)
Enquiries: Jack Fulton – Student Town Planner – 9843 0154 or Jessie Wiseman – Strategic Planning Coordinator - 9843 0122.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Smart Place?
“Smart Places” are areas (including the combination of publicly owned land, private areas and publicly accessible private land) where technology, data and innovation are relied on to increase the efficiency of everyday processes, overcome complex challenges and improve quality of life for residents, workers and visitors, both now and into the future.
What is the purpose of the Draft Smart Places Strategic Framework?
The purpose of the Draft Smart Places Strategic Framework is to:
- Establish a long-term strategic direction for how technology, data and innovation can increase the efficiency of everyday processes, overcome complex challenges and improve quality of life for residents, workers and visitors, both now and into the future.
- Define the roles and responsibilities of key stakeholders and transparently communicate the principles which Council will apply when making decisions as it performs its various roles as a stakeholder, advocate, enabler, governing authority and implementer.
- Document and reflect on the success of the range of projects and initiatives already underway within The Hills and identify some of the next steps and opportunities for stakeholders to consider for the continued transformation of The Hills into Smart Place.
Why has the Draft Framework been prepared?
Council’s adopted Local Strategic Planning Statement (Council’s overarching strategy that provides a 20 year vision for The Hills Shire) requires Council to prepare and endorse a policy to guide the delivery and use of evolving technologies in the urban environment.
Evolving technology is quickly becoming part of everyday life and the urban environment. As it gets cheaper and easier to produce, its appeal and accessibility increases.
Council and its officers are increasingly required to consider, discuss and make decisions with respect to digital infrastructure, technology and ‘smart’ initiatives. This framework will assist in ensuring a robust policy framework is in place, with clear principles and directions to guide Council’s decision making.
What has informed the Draft Framework?
The preparation of this initial draft Framework for discussion has drawn on the collated feedback already received from key stakeholders over recent years through related consultation and strategic planning projects:
- Local Strategies – including Hills Corridor Strategy, Council’s Local Strategic Planning Statement, Community Strategic Plan, Precinct Plans for our Strategic Centres and the Economic Growth Plan
- Strategic Planning Investigations (available on the Have Your Say page)
- The Hills Business Performance Sentiment Index (PSI) Survey
- Internal engagement processes with various Departments across Council
- Ongoing working groups and consultation meetings with the Greater Cities Commission regarding the review of the Region Plan and City Plans.
Are there already some smart initiatives in The Hills Shire?
While some smart technologies have already started to be rolled out within The Hills, we still have a long way to go on our Smart Places journey. The draft Framework seeks to kick start this process and discussion – establishing an overarching strategic direction to guide this transformation over the coming years.
Some examples of these existing initiatives include:
- Flood warning systems on some bridges
- Remote access to Council sporting facilities
- Solar panels at Council’s Administration Building
- Electric vehicle charging stations at the Waves Fitness and Aquatic Centre
- Water level sensors in some dams
- Free public Wi-Fi in major retail centres
- Facilitating the submission of forms, payments and applications online
- Increased utilisation of QR Codes.
Who will be responsible for delivering and maintaining the smart initiatives?
The continued evolution of The Hills as a Smart Place will only occur through commitment, collaboration, partnership and action from a broad range of stakeholders working towards a shared direction and common goals.
The Framework sets out that the delivery of smart place initiatives is in many cases not the responsibility or role of Council. Rather, it will be the responsibility of a wide range of stakeholders including landowners, businesses, developers, Council and State Government, as detailed within the Framework.
What is Council doing in terms of privacy, governance and data protection?
The draft Framework identifies six key principles that will underpin and guide Council’s approach to decision making – one of which is for initiatives to be secure.
It is acknowledged that Council holds extensive amounts of data and information, some of which is already “open” data made available to the public and some of which is not suitable for public release.
The Framework articulates that Council will continue to uphold high privacy, confidentiality and security standards in its collection of information and management of data that protects the safety and security of its community and assets. Any transition towards increased data sharing and “open” data will not occur without a suitable data governance, security and privacy framework in place for this transition.
The draft Framework flags that Council will investigate the preparation of a Data, Governance and Privacy Management Policy.
What is Council seeking from this consultation process?
We are planning for our growing community. Draft documents have been prepared for consultation purposes, so we can capture the feedback of stakeholders including landholders, business, industry groups, government agencies and the wider community.
You are encouraged to make a submission as this will enable Council to gain a better understanding of stakeholder and community perspectives and ensure these views are well considered as part of the process.
What happens with the submissions and when will the Draft Framework be finalised?
Any submissions and stakeholder feedback received during the consultation phase will be reviewed and will be subject of a post exhibition report for Council’s consideration.
This will enable Council to consider feedback received and at that time, determine whether or not to adopt the Draft Framework (with or without amendment having consideration to any submissions and feedback received).
This is likely to happen in early 2024.
How long is the Draft Framework being exhibited for?
The Draft Framework will be on public exhibition from Monday 13 November 2023 until Monday 11 December 2023.
Where else can the exhibition material be viewed?
Exhibition material can be viewed on Council’s website via the homepage, on the Have Your Say page. A hard copy is also available for viewing at Council’s Administration Building.
Should you have any difficulties reading or accessing the material, please reach out to the Forward Planning Team on 9843 0555 who would be happy to assist.
Have Your Say
Click here to view form.