Lion City links a smart deal

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James Riley

Malcolm Turnbull says Australia would continue to look to Singapore for smart city development ideas and inspirations.

Speaking to media at the ASEAN-Australia Special Summit on Friday, the Prime Minister acknowledged that Singapore is a prime example of how we should be building its future cities, and that Australia would continue to “shamelessly copy” Singapore’s approach.

“It would be hard to find a smarter city than Singapore. One of the things you’ve done in Singapore, which I’ve inspected first hand, is the way you have planned your mass transit, rail infrastructure in advance of major residential and commercial development,” Mr Turnbull said.

“We are starting to do that more in Australia, and just recently associated with the Western Sydney Airport we announced the Western Sydney City Deal, with the [NSW] state government and many local governments in the region.

“One of key parts is doing the planning – in particular the planning for rail – in advance of the zoning to allow the development and to make sure you’ve got infrastructure in place before your development, so the density follows amenities, rather than having density created and amenities and transport having to catch up.”

Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsieng Loong said the country has more plans to build smart cities in Singapore, as well as a network of smart cities in ASEAN countries.

“Because many cities are going in this direction, they’re using technology, using networks, using sensors, they’re wiring up, they’re getting their e-commerce going, they’re getting their e-cash going – and there is scope for cooperation in terms of standards, interoperability, and in terms of footprint of services that you can offer across a jurisdiction,” Mr Lee said.

“Many Australian cities are progressing on these areas too, and we can link them into this network. This is one way Australia can integrate into the region.”

The two leaders revealed other key priorities for both nations include collaboration on science and innovation, helping small business, and strengthening defence and security ties.

“We both recognise the importance of enterprise, innovation and investment,” Mr Turnbull said.

Mr Lee added Australia and Singapore’s cooperation on science and innovation continues to grow. He pointed to how the Australian Government’s Singapore-based Austrade Landing Pad last March has since hosted up to 15 startups.

“Both sides are working to harness technology in different areas including data science, advance manufacturing, health and biosecurity to bring tangible benefits to our peoples,” Mr Lee said.

“We’ve made significant progress under the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, and both sides will continue to find new ways to broaden and deepen cooperation,” he said.

“Singapore is keen to update our avoidance for double taxation agreement with Australia to capitalise on trade even further.”

Last week, Australia and Singapore were among 11 nations to sign the Trans-Pacific Partnership-11, which the Australian government claims would deliver more export opportunities for local businesses.

It builds on Australia’s signed agreements on innovation and cybersecurity with Singapore mid-last year.

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