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Australia’s top planner makes a big impression in China

Australia’s top planner makes a big impression in China article image

Talented Australian Planner Chris Isles is a member of the 1000-strong trade delegation currently in China for Australia Week.

Mr Isles, the National Planner of the Year and Executive Director of Planning at Place Design Group, leads the best of Australian Planning and Urban Design at Austrade's International Smart Cities Forum at AWIC 2016.

Yesterday he gave a presentation on Australian best practice planning and innovation around Smart Cities.

He was joined by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Trade Minister Steven Ciobo.

Mr Isles says Australia and China can both gain from the trade mission.

"China is experiencing such rapid urbanisation that smart city thinking is critical, so they are well positioned to lead this exciting evolution of cities,” says Mr Isles.

“Australia has the opportunity to play a critical part in this process through the provision of key thinking and technology."

Led by Austrade, the main of the mission is to advance Australia's diplomatic and economic interests and to promote the international competitiveness of Australian businesses in China.

Timing never better

Mr Isles believes the timing has never been better. The mission is critical, not only for international business relations, but for the future of our cities.Planner_Chris_Isles

"As we grapple with big data, the 'internet of things', and urbanisation we are at a point where we have the technology to make better cities. This mission is a perfect opportunity to share key learnings and ideas between our countries," he says.

Currently, there are many commercial opportunities thanks to the unprecedented increase of an affluent middle class, and the recently revised China Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA).

And to responsibly capitalise on these, we must consider the critical need for an international smart cities approach, says Mr Isles.

"Cities around the world have one unifying element. People. Urbanisation, and how we develop 'smart technology' to help keep liveability for people high on the agenda should be a global pursuit, and one of world importance."

Wrap-up report

The AWIC 2016 program features trade and investment seminars, roundtables, site visits, product showcases and opportunities for networking with Chinese business, industry and government.

Mr Isles will release a wrap-up report, post-mission which will provide valuable insights into opportunities for international investment, trade and smart cities planning approaches from across the globe. This is expected to be available early next month.

Trade Minister Steven Ciobo is encouraging more Australian companies to export to China.

“It demonstrates the ­opportunities in China are now recognised by a broad cross-section of businesses in Australia,” he said. “It’s not just about the multi­national companies or the large corporates.”

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