Ballarat gains Smarter Cities grant in IBM waste plan

Global IBM consultants will help Ballarat to plan a forward-thinking waste management project to cater for the city’s rapidly growing population.

IBM yesterday announced the City of Ballarat as one of 16 recipients from around the world for a 2014 Smarter Cities Challenge grant worth $US500,000.

As part of the initiative, a team of IBM consultants will spend three weeks in Ballarat. At the end, IBM will present a comprehensive set of recommendations.

Mayor Joshua Morris said it came as Ballarat looked to expand as a pivotal industrial and commercial hub for Victoria.

“We’re looking at waste management in not just environmental terms, but also the financial impact and job creation opportunities which it can afford our citizens”, he said.

Cr Morris said by refining how the city monitored data, it hoped to make savings and reduce the financial burden on ratepayers.

IBM Australia corporate citizenship and affairs manager Miranda Scarff said Ballarat’s population was predicted to grow rapidly so the need to effectively manage waste was pressing.

Mr Scarff said because the city had many agreements with businesses and stakeholders there was a large amount of information to pull together.

Ballarat’s grant submission highlighted the need to develop a system that minimised the effect on the environment and created local employment.

Ms Scarff said a successful concept could potentially be reproduced throughout Australia, given that these issues were faced by many cities.

“The city clearly wants to improve its citizens’ quality of life by looking to use insights from captured data to better manage and plan the city’s waste management needs in the future,” she said.

“Ballarat is showing they are open to receiving outside input and they’re keen to reach out and leverage global expertise.”

rachel.afflick@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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