- Tuesday 12 February 2019
The Sunshine Coast has been recognised as one of the Top7 Intelligent Communities of 2019, sharing the global spotlight with communities from Canada, Taiwan and the United States including Chicago.
The announcement made overnight by the Intelligent Community Forum in Quebec, Canada, acknowledges those communities which exemplify best practices in broadband deployment and use, workforce development, innovation, digital inclusion, sustainability and advocacy.
The only Australian city being named at this elite level, the Sunshine Coast is now a contender for the prestigious Intelligent Community of the Year title to be announced in New York in June.
Mayor Mark Jamieson said the Top7 was a significant achievement for the entire community and representative of not only council’s investment in game-changer projects such as the international broadband submarine network and a 15mw solar farm, but also many other initiatives.
“A long-term strategy delivered in true partnership with community, education and industry leaders over many years demonstrates that collaboration is critical for success,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“These awards, backed by the robust judging criteria, demonstrate the depth of commitment and passion we all have for this region and our healthy, smart and creative vision.”
The international Intelligent Community Forum awards program evaluated hundreds of communities from across the world and highlighted those that utilise technology, not just to be more efficient, but to expand opportunities and build sustainable prosperity for more of their citizens.
Mayor Jamieson said this year’s theme of Infinite Learning was especially important to the Sunshine Coast region, as ongoing investment in talent and skills was crucial to preparing the region’s workforce with the knowledge and experience they need to succeed in a global marketplace.
“From our Robocoast national robotics champions, to Mountain Creek High’s Coding and Innovation Hub teacher training, to Generation Innovation youth startup programs and the Mayor’s Telstra Innovation Awards, we are all supporting our young people prepare for the jobs of the future,” he said.
“We also have a thriving ecosystem of education programs, business incubators, coworking spaces and advocacy events which actively support and encourage innovation, new ideas, entrepreneurs and startups.
“Our local community will share in the ongoing benefits from being recognised on a global stage.
“Not only do these awards provide additional exposure to international talent and investment opportunities, they also provide access to a global network of other progressive cities and communities, where we can continue to learn and share best practice.
“As a Top7 intelligent community, the Sunshine Coast will receive significant media coverage both locally and internationally which will help profile our region and its business opportunities to the world.”
Owner and founder of Sunshine Coast helicopter modification business, Helimods, Will Shrapnel said this award was testament to the phenomenal work being undertaken in the region.
“I believe the Sunshine Coast is capable of hosting the most advanced and technology-intensive industries in the world. I also believe that innovative and progressive companies that choose to invest in this region will gain an enduring and increasing competitive advantage over their city-only counterparts,” Mr Shrapnel said.
“The Top 7 is a fantastic achievement. Great news for business and the community!”
Intelligent Community Forum judges will now visit each Top7 winner to gain first-hand insight into the key factors in the community’s success, with one community selected as the Intelligent Community of the Year in June.
The Top7 announcement follows the Sunshine Coast’s inclusion as a Smart21 Intelligent Community of 2019 which included cities and counties from Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, India, Kenya, Russia, Taiwan, the United States and Vietnam. The Smart21 represent the best models of economic, social and cultural development in the digital age.
- In alphabetical order, the Top7 Intelligent Communities of 2019 are:
o Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada
o Chicago, Illinois, USA
o Hudson, Ohio, USA
o Sarnia-Lambton County, Ontario, Canada
o Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia
o Taoyuan, Taiwan
o Westerville, Ohio, USA
- The Intelligent Community Forum is a global network of cities and regions with a think tank at its centre. Its mission is to help communities use information and communications technology (ICT) to create inclusive prosperity, tackle social and governance challenges and enrich their quality of life.
- The Sunshine Coast has been named a Smart21 Intelligent Community five times in the past six years.
- At the inaugural Australian Smart Cities Awards in 2018 council won the Leadership City award for its Smart City Implementation Program; won the Regional Leadership award for the Sunshine Coast Solar Farm; and was highly commended in the Digital City Services category for its Smart Region Management Platform which provides real-time water, lighting, parking and environmental data.