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Australia's First Heritage City becomes an Australian Future City


Broken Hill City Council

Broken Hill CBD, New South Wales

Project stage



Start date: 30 November 2018
End date: 28 February 2020

Project value

Australian Government funding:

Focus area

  • City and community planning
  • Visitor experience
  • Facility and services management (buildings, energy, waste, utilities)
  • Public administration and customer service
  • Public safety (crime and disaster prevention and management)

Project type

  • Smart lighting
  • Public safety
  • Smart hub/precinct
  • Smart parking
  • Smart energy (solar power, energy storage, batteries)
  • Smart waste (management, recycling)
  • Smart amenity management (library, pool, BBQs, toilets...)

Technology type

  • Internet of Things
  • Wi-Fi
  • CCTV
  • Network infrastructure
  • Smartphone applications
  • Hardware
  • Smart poles
  • Online portal

Project link

Project summary

Broken Hill City Council is pursuing an economic transition beyond mining, investing in opportunities that promote Australia’s First Heritage Listed City as a liveable city that offers an immersive cultural visitor experience and enviable lifestyle. We are using technology to evolve the City into a place where heritage and technology fuse to bring together the best of the old and the new worlds. This project uses technology to create a smart precinct which will make the City more active, liveable, productive and safe. The IOT Platform will host an open-ended range of sensor applications to manage the city’s cultural and festival spaces, including pedestrian, traffic and waste management, smart lighting and CCTV.

The challenge

Broken Hill is fortunate to have many of the fundamental elements for lifestyle, sustainability and social cohesion in place. However, the current strategy calls for a broadening of the economic structure, which requires significant investments on both the supply and demand sides. Council is proactively seeking innovative solutions to stay the gradual population decline due to cyclical dependence on mining and revitalise the Central Business District (CBD). In alignment with the Smart Cities Plan, Council is seeking a transition of our economy beyond mining investment and is pursuing opportunities that promote a liveable city by creating a smart cultural hub in the CBD. This new direction is a game-changer – moving Broken Hill’s economic and psychological attachment to a resource-based economy and providing actionable projects and activities through capital investment in a staged intervention and laying the foundation for communication with government and investors.


Council recognises that the solutions offered through investment in smart technologies provides opportunities to work globally, provide alternative attractors for visitors and residents, create safe and interesting events through the expansion of the night time economy and improve Council’s bottom line though reduced costs and improved productivity. The project sits alongside the development of the CBD cultural hub and introduction of vivid-style projection and lighting on key architectural facades.

Council is introducing:

  • IOT Platform
  • Smart Bins Trial
  • Smart parking sensor trial
  • CCTV and CBD lighting for community identified areas to protect people and community assets


The IoT Platform is seen as a key competitive advantage for our region, enabling Broken Hill to become a smarter community by using smart, integrated technologies to promote synergies and growth across the region, with the aim of making Broken Hill an even more attractive place to grow a business, expand skills, raise a family and lead a productive, fulfilling life. It will also provide the platform for building intelligence to evidence-based decisions, which was noted in the Broken Hill Smart City Framework consultation.
Smart Lighting and Security is recommended early in the Smart Community Framework, first in Council-owned locations and then onto assets not owned by Council once the necessary stakeholder engagement and negotiation has taken place. The social benefits of the smart lighting and security in the two festival/event parks include:

  • Improving public perception of safety – increase park patronage and activity – grow the night economy.
  • A potential 20% reduction in crime.
  • Improved public safety and monitoring of conditions during events and periods of low activity to identify suspicious objects or stationary vehicles and vandalism.

The solution offered by the successful tenderer has also embraced solar and wind-powered technology, reducing Council’s carbon footprint.

Public safety and protection of people and assets align with the City’s urban design strategy to grow the night economy. The plan is identified as a supply side factor to achieve in the visitor economy by and is underpinned by an integrated infrastructure development program that connects various sites in the City and fosters creativity, inclusion and innovation. This investment also supports Council’s goal of making Broken Hill a region of the future by ensuring long-term sustainability through reduced electrical use and fewer maintenance vehicle operating hours by using management system, algorithms and sensors to control on-off and dimming cycles.

It also will address concerns about the brand impact associated with graffiti, vandalism, assaults etc. The project will act as a demonstration project for the community who have been reticent in implementing lighting and security strategies in their own businesses.
The Parking Sensor trial will contribute to the pedestrian and traffic movement throughout the City Centre, creating a more positive visitor and residential experience. It will reduce time spent searching for a parking spot and thereby lowering carbon emissions and reduce congestion. The technology will build on the existing pinforce parking enforcement system being used in the City Centre that has simplified parking enforcement by notifying staff of overstays and automated ticketing of infringement notices. It has also reduced aggressive behaviour against Council staff.

The new sensor technology will inform the planning of the new library and cultural hub and potentially reduce on-street traffic congestion by more than 30%.

The introduction of the Smart Sensor Bin trial in the City centre, aims to increase the visitor experience in the city’s cultural and heritage precinct by minimising the presence of waste collection trucks and providing Council with the ability to assess the feasibility of a roll-out to residential areas. The system will also lower the cost of waste management minimising the number of collections, contribute to greater urban cleanliness and create a point of distinction by mirroring solutions embraced by sustainability leaders.

The applications and data will be a demonstration project for how smart technology can be incorporated into a heritage city. It will also better inform the collaboration of the Far West Joint Organisation. Embracing smart technology has capacity to increase the bargaining power of partner Councils and support joint procurement and buying conditions.

The project is scaleable in that it is based on the City Framework divided into manageable projects and budget presents opportunities to invest. This approach also allows the development to be flexible and align with future changes in community priority as identified in the Community Strategic Planning process.

Lessons learned

Once the tenderer is appointed they can present more refined solutions.

The tender can suggest solutions to other development going on in the City which supports Council’s strategy of an integrated approach to development.


Tender awarded Smart Bins. Smart Bins have been installed in the CBD. Smart bins include an extension to Council’s free wifi program.

Tender awarded IOT/lighting/CCTV.  All interested parties were required to visit Broken Hill for site visits.

The lighting and CCTV project is using wind technology as well as solar.

The company has included a trial on environmental sensors in the city’s main event park.

BBQ sensors on new park development have been offered at a lower cost.

Council was asked to speak at the Smart Cities Summit 2019 about adapting big city strategies to a regional community context and a second conference later in 2019.

Contact details

Name: Anne Andrews
Phone: 0409 316 103