Australia announces 23.4 mln USD fund for ASEAN’s smart cities hinh anh 1Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. (Photo: AFP/VNA)

Sydney (VNA) – Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on March 17 announced Australia will provide an investment of 30 million AUD (23.4 million USD) to support “smart cities” in Southeast Asia.

Australian Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) named Melbourne the world’s most livable city in 2017 for a seventh consecutive year while Perth and Adelaide always made to the Top 10, said Turnbull during his keynote address in a special conference with 10 ASEAN member country leaders on the sidelines of the ASEAN-Australia Special Summit.

However, some ASEAN cities, such as Indonesia’s Jakarta, the Philippines’ Manila, and Thailand’s Bangkok were ranked near the bottom of the list, he added.

Modern cities today are applying many advanced technologies like touchscreen, e-commerce and digital currencies designed to be compatible in different countries, the leader said, citing Singapore as a good example of a smart city.

He hoped that the “smart cities” initiative will create a bank of knowledge that brings together ideas for sustainable urban planning from Australia and the ASEAN nations.

The first ASEAN-Australia Special Summit opened in Sydney a day earlier, in the presence of Turnbull and leaders of the ten ASEAN nations including Vietnamese PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc.

Themed “Enhancing Regional Security and Prosperity”, the event is expected to discuss issues related to regional security, economic relations as well as counter-terrorism measures so as to further tighten the relationship between Australia and ASEAN.

The ASEAN-Australia Business Summit, the International Counter-Terrorism Conference and a plenary meeting of senior leaders are scheduled to take place within the framework of the three-day event.

ASEAN and Australia set up relations in 1974. Australia was the first nation establishing the official dialogue partnership with ASEAN in all three fields of politics, economics and specialised cooperation.-VNA