Digital Local Government program ready for comments
The Digital Local Government (DLG) program (Draft) provides funding to local governments in communities that first benefit from the high-speed services which the National Broadband Network (NBN) will provide. The Digital Local Government (DLG) program assists local governments in these communities to deliver innovative online services—in particular, to homes and businesses.
The Digital Local Government (DLG) program encourages the development of online services that are replicable and scalable, and which other local governments across Australia can adapt for their purposes as the NBN is rolled out to them. It has the potential to encourage a step change in the quality, availability and speed of local government services.
Each of the local councils in the 40 communities in the NBN early rollout sites is encouraged to submit a detailed proposal for funding under the Digital Local Government (DLG) program. Round 1 will include the first eight councils representing communities in the NBN first-release sites.
- Armidale Dumaresq Council, New South Wales
- Circular Head Council, Tasmania
- City of Onkaparinga, South Australia
- Dorset Council, Tasmania
- Kiama Municipal Council, New South Wales
- Moreland City Council, Victoria
- Sorell Council, Tasmania
- Townsville City Council, Queensland
Local councils are encouraged to partner with private sector vendors and/or form partnerships/consortia with other eligible local councils. By forming consortia, councils will access a larger pool of funds to enable the collaborative development of NBN‑enabled services to meet common objectives across the collective communities.
Each council (or consortium of councils) must submit a business case for funding from the Digital Local Government (DLG) program to provide transparency and consistency in funding allocation. The business case template is included at Section 11 of these guidelines.
The $17.1 million Digital Local Government (DLG) program will provide funding over the three years ending 30 June 2014 to local councils in communities that first benefit from the NBN.
The Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy administers the program and will make funding available through staged rounds, according to the NBN rollout schedule.
Total funding available under Round 1 of the program is $3 million.
Funding is available to each local government (or council/consortium of councils) to assist with projects that will contribute to the DLG program objectives. The Digital Local Government (DLG) program provides funding of up to $375 000 (excluding GST) to each of the local councils representing the communities that first benefit from the NBN.
Each council or consortium must contribute a minimum of 25 per cent of the total estimated project cost from sources other than the Australian Government. A council contribution may consist of cash, or in-kind contributions, or a combination of both.
Examples of potentially funded projects
Some examples of potential projects for which the Digital Local Government (DLG) program could fund development include the following:
- A platform to host online video-based community forums on topical issues such as major development proposals. This would have the potential for enabling a larger number and wider cross-section of interested residents to participate in local government consultative processes
- Enhancing or replacing an existing council service with an online service delivered to the home via the NBN. For example, many councils are responsible for the delivery of health care advice to assist new parents. This service involves maternal and child health nurses visiting parents to provide advice and support on issues with newborns such as sleep and settling difficulties. In some instances, the parents may have to visit the healthcare centre. If some of these consultations could be delivered via video conference using the NBN, it would be possible to deliver more timely advice, reduce travel costs and increase convenience.
- Local government services to the home using cloud-based applications that require significant bandwidth and assured levels of stability. The use of cloud-based services would ensure that councils always had access to the latest applications and could easily scale up services at periods of high demand.
- A video streaming platform that could help promote local tourism, events and businesses and which potential customers could access anywhere.
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