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Council presents inaugural Digital Innovation and Smart Agriculture Festival

17 April 2019

The Greater Hamilton region is transforming into a Smart Connected Community and is fast becoming a leading example of a successful digital economy for regional Australia. Leveraging this experience, Southern Grampians Shire Council will next month host the inaugural Greater Hamilton Digital innovation and Smart Agriculture (DISA) 2019 Festival.

The primary focus of the Festival is to showcase how rural communities such as Greater Hamilton can, and are, embracing new technology and innovative practices to gain an edge and create new opportunities.

Southern Grampians Shire Council Mayor Cr Mary-Ann Brown said Council were proud to be leading the way with Digital Transformation and highlighted the festival as an important step in the journey.

“We are so pleased to be able to hosting an event of this nature in our region. Our Digital Strategy, adopted in 2016 outlined the vision for the Southern Grampians to be a leading example of a successful digital economy, community and local government among regional Australia,” Cr Brown said.

“We have come such a long way since 2016. We have greatly improved connectedness for residents with the installation of free Wi-Fi in all of our townships. We have extended our use of sensor technology to our pools and ovals among other areas and are utilising this to deliver services more effectively. We’re also using technology to learn more about usage of public spaces and capturing this data to assist with our asset renewal program.

“Council’s Smart Cities Digital Transformation project was recognised for innovation and excellence, winning the 2017 National Awards for Local Government – Digital Innovation in Local Government Category and the MAV Technology 2017-2018 Smart City Achievement of the year. The project also received $150,000 funding from the Federal Government Smart Cities and Suburbs program, validating that the strategy work completed to date is well aligned to the expectations of higher levels of government.

“Now, it’s time for us to share our learnings with the wider community and encourage rural councils, agencies and authorities to step up and embrace digital transformation. That’s what the Digital Innovation and Smart Agriculture Festival is all about,” Cr Brown said.

The feature event of the three day festival is the Conference on Wednesday 22 May. A range of speakers from across the country will present on topics such as sensor technology, public Wi-Fi, smart lighting, drone technology in agriculture and open data, all of which are central to helping smaller rural councils, agencies, authorities and business improve connectedness and gain efficiencies.

The conference centres on two streams – Smart Agriculture and Smart Community. The Smart Agriculture stream will focus on the farming community, suppliers and innovators within the agriculture space. It will explore how sensor technology can be leveraged to help farmers improve decision making and find efficiencies on their property.

The focus of the Smart Community stream is to show practical examples of how rural and regional councils, while having smaller budgets and less resources than their metropolitan counterparts, are successfully leveraging technology to create new opportunities not only internally but for their community.

A range of technology based community events will also take place over three days, including a visit by the Academy of Interactive Entertainment and the opportunity to see smart agriculture in action on Tuesday 21 May with tours to local properties and the Hamilton Regional Livestock Exchange.

The final day of the festival Thursday 23 May will see the Hub Hamilton turned into a Digital Education and Innovation Hub, bringing together digital educators, makers, innovators, tinkers, creators and enthusiasts. Aimed at Primary, Secondary and school leavers this opportunity will highlight the many possibilities that the digital economy offers. Residents are invited to come and try a variety of digital technologies in pop-up labs and creative spaces including 3D experiences and robotics.

“I encourage everyone to head to the festival website and have a look at the full program. We really are privileged to be hosting an event of this calibre in the Greater Hamilton region and we look forward to the opportunity to showcase all that we have achieved and all that we have to offer to the wider community,” Cr Brown concluded.

Tickets are available now through

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