SCP E356 Summer Series: Local Government Challenges and Lessons Learnt in Smart Communities, with Martin Darcy

Hi #smartcommunity friends! Welcome to the Summer Series here on the Smart Community Podcast. We’re taking a little break from new content over the Australian summer holidays, and instead we are sharing the replays of a few of our all time favourite episodes. This week to kick off the series, we’re sharing my interview with Martin Darcy, who was on the show back in July 2022 in Episode 303.

Martin is the Service Manager of Business and Innovation with Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council. In this episode, Martin starts off by telling us about his background in the tourism industry, his past roles and current role working in local government, and Martin tells us what a Smart Community means to him. Martin then tells us a bit about how his role at the Council has evolved over time, some of the challenges in the Smart Communities space he has faced in this time, before he discusses his experience working to embed Smart Communities in his organisation. He then shares with us some lessons learnt when measuring and monitoring Smart Community benefits, as well as some of the communication and community engagement challenges he has faced. 

We then discuss the importance of educating the community about the benefits of Smart Communities and some of the elements that contribute to dealing with change. We finish our chat discussing the emerging trends of using data to make better informed decisions. There’s a few audio glitches in this interview but it’s a great conversation so we hope you will forgive us the imperfections. As always, we hope you enjoy listening to this episode as much as we enjoyed making it!

Listen here: 

What we cover in this episode:

  • Martin’s background in the tourism industry, his current job and past jobs in local government 
  • What a Smart Community means to Martin 
  • Martin’s journey working in local government and how his role has evolved over time
  • Some of the challenges in the Smart Communities space Martin has faced working in local government 
  • Martin’s experience with embedding Smart Communities in his organisation 
  • Some lessons learnt in measuring and monitoring the benefits Martin has seen from Smart Community initiatives 
  • Some of the communication and community engagement challenges Martin has faced 
  • The importance of educating the community about the benefits of Smart Communities 
  • The elements that contribute to dealing with change 
  • The emerging trends of using data to make better informed decisions 


“[Smart Communities] is really just where technology changes or improves services and changes processes. So I’d like to think of it as something as simple as that.”

“When I look at other councils who are really quite successful, they have dedicated skilled expertise, just in Smart Cities. You look at Sunshine Coast, Newcastle, these councils are well known for what they do in the Smart City space, they have dedicated expert people involved. And that’s where that challenge comes with other councils in particular in regional areas is finding funding for those particular resources. And that one full time equivalent staff to be dedicated to that.” 

“It’s just telling the story which without dedicated resources, those are things that lapse. And you tend to get fixated on just keeping everything going with your business as usual stuff. And that’s where those dedicated resources can make such a big difference.”

“I think what so many organisations are finding challenging is keeping up with the change that produces the benefits in the long run, the things that are supposed to change to produce the benefits, is not keeping up. And that’s just because of business as usual pressures, resources, funding costs, and also the status quo. Things were in place, that’s the regulation, that’s the law. And we have a heavily regulated government structure in Australia, and those sort of [factors] do prevent things from changing quickly.”

“For local governments, the future trends is really just going to be trying to draw the maximum value they can out of data. I still think the trends are just going to go on the data side of things. I think governments are catching up with the rate of change, and just working out how data can help them and then getting the necessary resources in place.”


Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council Website 


Find the full show notes at: 

Connect with Martin via LinkedIn 

Connect with me via email:  

Connect with My Smart Community via LinkedIn or Twitter and watch on YouTube

The Smart Community Podcast is produced by Perk Digital


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