The City of Ballarat’s Right to the Night project has won the Municipal Association of Victoria Technology Awards for Excellence Smart City Achievement of the Year.
The independent judges praised the project as being an excellent example of a people first, technology second initiative.
Just over four out of 10 Ballarat residents agreed that they felt safe walking alone in their local area after dark, which is significantly less than the Victorian average.
The Right to the Night project uses an online platform for women and girls to map which areas of Ballarat they feel safe in after dark, and which they don’t.
Analysis of this data identified ways to improve community safety across other localities, both within the municipality and further afield.
A GovHack 2018 Challenge was also set to engage the community in the discussion.
Local business owners, particularly those involved in the late-night entertainment industry, were also included in the project to help ensure their patrons were as safe as possible.
Several councils have visited the City of Ballarat to research the project.
The judges said the most important part of the project was the community, the partners, communications, data resulting from the project and how that data was used to inform process and planning across Council.
Right to the Night is a collaborative project involving the City of Ballarat, Federation University, Victoria Police, Centre for Multicultural Youth, Ballarat Community Health, Women’s Health Grampians and Australian Catholic University.
Right to the Night has previously won the Australian Local Government Association Innovation to Create More Liveable and Collaborative Communities award.
City of Ballarat Mayor Cr Samantha McIntosh said the award recognised the Council was using technology to put its residents first.
“Right to the Night is a fantastic way of ensuring Ballarat residents, particularly women and girls, feel safer in our municipality,” Cr McIntosh said.
“This award win shows that the City of Ballarat is leading the way in using the latest technologies to make our city more liveable.”