City of Melbourne appoints CDO to head new office

By David Donaldson

October 1, 2015

Michelle Fitzgerald

The City of Melbourne has appointed its own chief digital officer, a first for a Victorian local government authority.

CEO Ben Rimmer announced on Wednesday that Michelle Fitzgerald will take up the role, heading up the City of Melbourne’s newly-formed Smart City Office.

Fitzgerald has been a partner at PwC since 2004, where her work focused on digital strategy, and was manager, strategy and global energy practices at Accenture before that.

Rimmer says Fitzgerald has led teams helping some of Australia’s largest companies to refine their digital strategies:

“Now Michelle will do the same for the City of Melbourne. Technological change is affecting the way we live, work and do business in our city and we must harness this change to take full advantage.

“It is vital that we get this right if we are to maintain our liveability and our economic prosperity.”

The chief digital officer will lead the City of Melbourne’s Smart City Office, which brings together its pre-existing lab, digital and geographic information systems functions into a single body. The office will bring thinking and action in four key areas:

  • Ensuring Melbourne is a preferred location for start-ups and entrepreneurs in technology and biosciences;
  • Building on Melbourne’s world-leading reputation as a centre for knowledge, research and higher education;
  • Driving the transformation of City of Melbourne services to embrace customer focus, digital, agile development, and open data;
  • Leading a decisive shift in Melbourne’s infrastructure management towards a “smart city” model, getting more out of the city’s infrastructure because it talks to the internet.

Brisbane and the ACT also have chief digital officers, but Melbourne is the first city in Victoria to use the title.

Rimmer, who led the creation of the myGov system at the federal Department of Human Services before joining the City Of Melbourne in February, said the challenges and opportunities created by digital disruption should be embraced by all levels of government.


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