Project status: In progress


How you had YourSay:

Thank you for helping to shape the future of our city – specifically around how we can harness the power of digital to make a meaningful difference to the lives of all people in our community.

Between 17 April and 14 June 2019, you had an opportunity to have your say by:

  • taking our short questionnaire
  • chatting with others in a discussion forum
  • writing to the Chief Digital Officer
  • calling the Office of the Chief Digital Officer.

Look back at what we asked by visiting the short questionnaire page, and check out the responses from your fellow Canberrans in the What We Heard report .

We are looking at:

We asked for your help to shape the future of our city – specifically around how we can harness the power of digital to make a meaningful difference to our lives.

Canberra is regularly voted among the world’s most liveable cities, but great cities don’t happen by chance – they need good design, good governance and good collaboration.

Most of the time we don’t think twice about how much digital impacts on our everyday lives. We download apps to help us travel, to shop and to keep track of news and events that are of interest to us. We use technology to do our banking, help us choose where to go for dinner, check reviews of venues, be updated on traffic conditions or to just check in and ‘like’ the social media posts of our friends or family.

'Digital’ isn’t just about computers or using the internet; it describes a new way of doing things, removing unnecessary costs and activities, creating and using information to continually improve, and most of all, placing the community at the centre of everything we do.

We will use your views to:

Your views are being used to inform a refresh of the ACT Government's Digital Strategy, focused on these themes:

  • An inclusive, progressive and connected city
  • One community, one city, one government – with “great services that make it easier for me”
  • Civic leadership and deliberative democracy – “I am involved and can contribute to how this city evolves”
  • Optimised and efficient government – using the resources we have to get the most benefit


We have identified the following themes where we think digital could offer great opportunities for improving our city.

Community-centred services

“Government services that are designed, developed and tested with the community in mind.”

Community-centred services are those that are designed, developed and tested with the community in mind. Those services will aim to meet the needs of the community in a way that works best for you. Done well, community-centred services are designed to be more efficient, seamless, and take advantage of new technologies and new ways of thinking.

The ACT Government provides a range of services to the Canberra community including education, health care, public safety, and community support services, as well as municipal services such as rubbish collection, libraries, car registration, and licencing.

Designing with the community in mind also means designing smart systems that support business and individuals to self-regulate in a way that does not compromise safety or regulatory outcomes.

Not all government services can be provided in a digital way– but all government services can be enhanced by digital and provide the community with more options. The options will always cater for those with limited access to technology.

Our current digital strategy paints a picture of what the future may look like for a citizen of Canberra, including:

  • I can access all but the most complex government services from any device.
  • Data is shared across government, on my terms, to make a better service experience.
  • I can see all my previous interactions with the ACT Government on all my digital devices – and perhaps even more importantly anyone in government I need to deal with can also see the relevant history. I don’t have to explain it all multiple times.
  • I always get a choice when using government services, but most of the time I can just ‘click here’ and it is all done.
  • Increasingly I can automate how I would like government agencies to handle my payments and renewals. I just get notified along the way.
  • Sometimes I just need a face to face meeting with a professional or maybe just a phone call. When that happens, I get to talk to really well-informed staff who understand and help. They can see all my relevant information and are quick to sort things out for me.
  • I like the fact that they know about my preferences and that I get personalised community event notifications digitally. I can just drop them into my calendar.
  • It is not all one way either. I can have my say with government on issues of the day – as a citizen I can influence and inform decisions in ways that make my voice heard.

Creating value from data

“Data is collected, managed and used in a way that protects privacy and develops better services to the community.”

The ACT Government collects, manages and utilises data from many places and for many purposes. We want to ensure that citizens and business are informed about what is collected and how it is used. Equally, we will be looking to use data to make services to citizens and business better and easier, and seek consent for any additional uses, including providing genuine alternative options for those who choose to opt out or withdraw their consent at any time. This could be by using information we already know, such as address, so we don’t keep asking for the same information over and over again.

The current strategy recognises that data is the lifeblood of digital services. It supports us in three ways:

  • Data enables a single view of Customer across our services;
  • It provides the information required for Operational Reporting so we can measure our historical performance; and
  • It provides the elements of knowledge on which Business Intelligence can be built to inform our future.

Co-designed city planning (Smart Cities)

“Combining city-wide connected technology and data to make Canberra more liveable, sustainable, vibrant and resilient.”

Canberra is growing in both population and density. With it comes challenges related to city design, transport and access to a healthy environment. Emerging technologies such as self-drive vehicles, delivery drones and 5G telecommunications are both a challenge and an opportunity to embrace new ways of living in our city. Digital technology, such as sensing devices, city-wide networks, Artificial Intelligence and data analytics can combine to help us see what is happening in our city and plan for what needs to change to make it better. Central to that is building relationships between government, developers and citizens to work together and co-design what a sustainable, vibrant, and resilient Canberra of the future can be.

Drawing upon Canberra’s Statement of Ambition, the current Digital Strategy and government strategic priorities, a Canberra Smart City would prioritise:

  • Improving the quality of life for Canberrans – This is the cornerstone for why we are creating a Smart City for Canberra. By understanding the needs of our citizens, we can make changes to improve the quality of life for all.
  • Improving prospects for people – New business opportunities and better access to education and innovation hubs will strengthen the local employment base and retain skilled people.
  • Strengthening the community – Use technology and data to increase city vibrancy and better engage with the community.
  • Digital inclusiveness - Everyone can access data and devices to participate in the digital economy and connect with the city and each other regardless of technology or social background.
  • Enabling faster, evidence-based decision making - Using small and big data to inform better insights into wicked problems and emerging urban challenges
  • Integrating city systems – Engaging with citizens to co-design innovative solutions to urban problems, big and small.
  • Providing real time knowledge about the city - An integrated network of systems, services and devices that uses and displays real-time information

Building strategic and productive relationships with businesses and industry

“Government, business and industry working together with academia and innovators to use digital technology for economic growth in Canberra.”

We would like to understand the needs of businesses and work together to create an environment for digital and technology businesses to thrive. The current Digital Strategy describes principles of collaborating with industry groups and Canberra’s world class education institutions to multiply outcomes; providing support for our innovators through the provision of networks, programs and enabling technology; seeking to source value locally where we can, and; promoting inclusion to benefit all, regardless of their level of digital maturity.

We would like to make it easier for businesses to work with the ACT Government, for example through a digital marketplace where opportunities are open to all, regardless of the size of your business.

The current strategy paints a picture of the future for Canberra’s business community, including:

  • My business transactions with government are all digital. In fact, the whole experience is just like my interactions as a citizen. Simple things are really simple.
  • Opening my new business was simpler and far less time consuming than I expected. Even though it was in a highly regulated industry with applications, inspections and multiple forms I was able to navigate through the process online. I was never asked the same question twice and at all stages I knew exactly what I needed to do. Starting the business required some site inspections. I was able to pick the best timeslot to suit me and all the necessary people turned up on the day and we covered it all in one session. It was more like a consultancy to make my business work better than a compliance inspection!
  • Canberra was the perfect place to get my business off the ground. The support networks for innovation are well established and I have access to a community of knowledge you just don’t find anywhere else in the country.
  • It is a very digital community and so I built my business that way. My customers expect that in the ACT because that is how they are used to working. It is good for my business too as it frees up my time to apply the personal touch where it really makes a difference.
  • I also find government data to be really helpful in understanding my customers – I can be sure I have the right offerings for the right customer segments.
  • My business also produces community information and I provide that back to government to publish.This is good for my business as well as giving back to the community and other business owners.
  • Multi-national companies have a strong presence in Canberra. This is partly because it is the home of Commonwealth Government – but increasingly they get value from the innovator community – ideas and collaborations that they can take back into their own organisations. They understand that Canberrans are the best people to get things done in Canberra.