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Transport needs to get smart: Minister

Start now: Federal transport minister Anthony Albanese announces a parliamentary committee hearing into ways to introduce smart technology for smarter transport.

Federal hearings set to open door to ‘smart’ ideas for Australian transport

General News logo20 Nov 2009

By RON HAMMERTON

THE federal government has announced a parliamentary committee inquiry into ways to embed “smart infrastructure” into the transport system and other key public sectors to improve productivity, reduce carbon emissions, improve safety and reduce congestion.

The House of Representatives standing committee, chaired by Victorian MP Catherine King, will travel across Australia to take submissions from interested organisations and individuals in the first half of 2010 before reporting back to the government with recommendations.

The investigation was announced by the federal infrastructure and transport minister Anthony Albanese at the Intelligent Transport Systems Summit in Melbourne on Friday.

Mr Albanese said Australia needed to formulate a plan to integrate smart technology into infrastructure in the design phases if it was to remain competitive.

He said the government’s planned $43 billion National Broadband Network would be a key part of such a development, allowing smart technologies to help break down the nation’s bottlenecks and improve people’s lives.

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“Smart infrastructure isn’t something that we can bolt on to our concrete and bitumen and steel later on,” he said “It has to be incorporated to infrastructure planning at the conceptual stage and it has to be done right now.”

The ITS Summit, attended by government and industry representatives from across Australia, focussed on the ways transport systems could be made more efficient, less congested and less harmful to the environment.

Mr Albanese said experts such as those at the summit would be encouraged to make submissions to the parliamentary committee’s hearings.

“This review is going to be an exciting opportunity to get the advice from the experts and feedback everyday transport users on the problems that must addressed,” he said.

Mr Albanese said the inquiry would also cover smart technology in the communications, energy and water sectors.

He said the inquiry would also be charged with looking at privacy issues raised by smart technologies, how small business could take advantage of the latest developments and ways business could lead the change.

Mr Albanese said a timetable for the hearings would be set out this week, and the window for submissions would be open for about three months.

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