This month we speak with Peter Auhl, Associate Director Information Management for the City of Adelaide.
Peter talks about the exciting new initiatives being introduced in the City of Adelaide, his career motivation and his interest in Australian history.
Hi Peter - thanks for speaking with us.
What’s your current role?
I am the Associate Director Information Management for the City of Adelaide
What is your work background/career path so far?
I have spent around 12 years in Local Government (City of Tea Tree Gully, City of Charles Sturt and the City of Adelaide), I have also worked in some large Government agencies including The Department of Treasury and Finance, Department of Further Education, Employment, Science and Technology and The Department of Transport Planning and Infrastructure.
I started my career in the Hospitality industry with the Stamford chain – I was there for around 7 years. An interesting part of my background is that I was once an opal miner in Coober Pedy – I was only supposed to be there as a labourer for around 1 month but ended up staying for over a year. It was a very interesting job making bombs every morning and getting to blow stuff up.
What motivates you? What are you most passionate about in local government?
I am a very passionate Australian, it’s in my blood. My grandfather was a historian and wrote many books on Tea Tree Gully, Burra and around the Copper Triangle – he used to pay me pocket money to help him research for his books in the Mortlock Library.
I have always been motivated to help and the beauty of Local Government is you are close enough to the community that you can readily talk to groups, businesses or people on the street and you can quickly see the results of projects make meaningful change to their lives. I still believe it’s the level of government that can have the biggest impact.
What is the most exciting initiative that you are currently involved in with Adelaide?
Where do I start? There are so many exciting things happening at the City of Adelaide, we are going through a very exciting period of change and delivering many amazing projects. 10GA is incredible but I will talk about that in the next topic, so I will discuss the Economic Insights platform. This is an amazing platform that takes open data to a new level.
We recognise that not all businesses have the internal capability to take flat file data and turn it into an insight. This is where the platform takes a transformational leap forward and provides a tool that is available anywhere in the world so that decision makers can have the information they need to influence their business case or their outcome. If you haven’t seen it – check it out at Invest Adelaide.
The 10 Gigabit project - what is it?
Ten Gigabit Adelaide (10GA) is one of the most transformational pieces of infrastructure the city has built in years. Imagine when Council’s first decided to build a water network or an electricity network, 10GA is the Utility of the 21st Century.
The project is a key element of Councils Strategic Plan, was born from a solving a problem, the problem of internet contention. We consulted with businesses across Adelaide and key feedback was that business internet connectivity was appalling and expensive. Regardless of the speed they had to the internet, at certain times of the day (like kids getting home from school), business trying to access cloud services were in competition with domestic internet traffic.
Enter 10GA – this project is set to deliver 100’s of km of fibre that will connect to 1000 building across the city at no cost. Each business will have access to this infrastructure and choose services that are meaningful to them (3gig of internet, 2gig of private cloud connection, 2gig of Business to Business connectivity).
Imagine the power of having thousands of businesses in the city able to communicate with each other without having to traverse the internet. For more information on this project visit Ten Gigabit Adelaide.
What does it mean for Adelaide businesses and organisations? What can they do with 10 gig – what does the future hold?
This infrastructure will transform the ways business operate, imagine a radiographer providing real time services to the new hospital from Hutt St. Or imagine if the Government Courts could collaborate with the legal industry without the need to go through the internet. We have spoken to a number of businesses across Adelaide who are excited about the potential.
How is the council involved? Will it provide a revenue stream for council in the future?
Council conducted an international EOI and had a large number of responses, there were a number of elements that were key to deliver against the goals of council and our Strategic Plan. We believe we achieved a fantastic outcome which includes the build as described above, access to a bank of fibre for councils own use (to further deliver on our Smart City ambitions) and a revenue returned to council to reduce our reliance on rates income.
Do you think this template is more for public/private partnerships for Adelaide? How do you think this will affect how councils raises revenue (and delivers services) in the future?
Council has a firm view that we should be exploring how we can generate non traditional revenue and always consider ensuring we are decreasing the reliance on rate revenue. I see there are a number of further projects that we can explore to achieve this outcome. Also there are huge opportunities for councils to collaborate with the City of Adelaide on this project and more. Watch this space.
What’s unique about this project? How does it set City of Adelaide apart?
This project, we believe, is the first of its kind in the world. There are other high speed, internet based networks in other countries, particularly the USA and Singapore, but they are all focused on the internet.The 10GA Project is focused on options for business, keeping specific business transactions away from the congestion of the internet – its focus is on reliability over speed alone (having said that, its going to go really fast as well).
Finally, how do you spend your leisure time outside of local government?
I have a small property in the Adelaide Hills. You will never see me in a suit on the weekends, I enjoy pottering around the property and most weekends I am planting trees, tending to the veggie garden or chasing the Alpaca. I love listening to buddha radio and watching the baby galahs learning to fly. In the winter stoking the fire or chopping wood, or collecting wild mushrooms.
I also love to build stuff and welding is one of my favourite things to do. I have an 80’s sports car (TVR) that I am doing up as I have a dream to race cars one day.
When I am free of doing all of that, and the weather permits. I love taking the boat out to catch a few reds in the gulf.