UTS will use thousands of individual pieces of data from a wide range of sources across Albury, Wodonga and surrounding local government areas to provide answers to three important questions:
- Have we effectively planned for increased population growth?
- What is the value of the Albury Wodonga visitor economy?
- Are we a destination of choice for new residents?
This information will be used to build a web-based platform for an open data policy, which is essentially a digital engine room that will enable us to fine-tune our planning for the growth of the visitor economy and population expansion in both cities.
For example, we’ll be able to source high-level information about the factors that attract new residents to Albury Wodonga, learn what we could do better to improve that attractiveness and even paint a profile of the typical relocator to our region. By working with this knowledge, we can improve our appeal to ‘tree-changers’ and grow our population thoughtfully and sustainably.
On the tourism front, we’ll also have a clearer picture of why visitors come to our region, what they do when they’re here, how much they spend, and what steps we can take to grow that visitor base for the benefit of the wider region.
Importantly, this solid foundation of data-driven evidence will also offer a robust structure to assist both councils in seeking financial assistance and other support from state and federal governments, giving us an added advantage as we work together to grow what is already Australia’s 20th largest economy.
The project, which was a key action under the joint Smart Communities Strategy adopted by both councils, is a cross-border first and another example of how the Two Cities One Community partnership is once again proving that we really are stronger together.
It will be developed with data input from across North East Victoria and along the northern side of the Murray River, making it in geographical terms, Australia’s largest open data platform and the first to operate across state borders.
UTS was selected as our partner for the project because of its outstanding record in the field of data innovation, including its success on developing a transport congestion management system for the City of Sydney.
The platform will be delivered within 18 months by which time the councils will have a blueprint to inform critical decisions about the best ways to attract more visitors and new residents, with associated benefits to the local industrial, logistics, education, and health sectors.
It will also be available to industry and community members so they can use the data to promote and encourage social and economic improvements for the benefit of the region.
It’s an exciting step forward in our roadmap towards a digital future and we look forward to our community joining us on that journey, with the dividends to be delivered for many years to come.