Barr leads ACT delegation to London and Singapore

Ian Bushnell 12 July 2019 5
Chief Minister Andrew Barr

Chief Minister Andrew Barr to pitch bonds, culture and tourism in London and Singapore. Photo: Canberra Business Chamber.

Attracting banks to invest in ACT Government bonds, increasing ties with overseas cultural institutions and furthering Canberra’s relationships with Qatar Airways and Singapore Airlines to grow inbound international tourism are on Chief Minister Andrew Barr’s agenda as he leads an ACT Government delegation to Singapore and London.

The week and a half long delegation will meet with some of the world’s largest banks, including Norges Bank and Barclays Bank to promote bond investment opportunities in the ACT, as well as seeking to refinance the ACT’s Mr Fluffy debt which the Commonwealth refuses to waive.

“Engaging with international financial markets to grow our investor base ensures the ACT can borrow at the most affordable rates to fund our record $3 billion public infrastructure investment program,” Mr Barr said.

The delegation will also include meetings with the directors of a number of Singapore and London’s most significant cultural institutions, including the island state’s Botanic Gardens and the British Museum, to help attract more domestic and international visitors to Canberra.

Director of the National Museum of Australia, Mathew Trinca, will join the delegation in London to further build on the existing collaboration and MoU between the National Museum of Australia and the British Museum.

Mr Barr said the United Kingdom was the second largest inbound tourism market for the ACT, with 35 per cent growth in the last five years.

“This sensational growth has been possible through the ease of connectivity on both Singapore Airlines and Qatar Airways. The delegation will meet with market representatives of both airlines to further grow awareness of Canberra as a tourism destination,” he said.

The Chief Minister will also meet with the Deputy Mayor of London, Rajesh Agrawal and the London ‘night czar’, Amy Lamé, to discuss the night-time economy and smart city initiatives.

The delegation will cost about $47,000, to be met from the existing budget allocation for the ACT Executive. The final cost will be released as part of the regular travel reports.


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5 Responses to Barr leads ACT delegation to London and Singapore
Veceslav Stanuga Veceslav Stanuga 8:14 pm 21 Jul 19

Well, well, well, it just shows how the Chief Minister has taken our great city into a precarious situation firstly by overspending and creating a so-called growth that we needed to have and now is not able to pay for it. This is a very dangerous situation where we are now open to international forces who will have an influence on the way we manage our affairs. Is it not obvious that this minister has diluted out independence and security by attracting overseas investors? This should not be allowed to happen. Unfortunately, we have a very week opposition and the Chief Minister in a delusional state of mind thinking that he has full power to do whatever he thinks will further his career path, and his decisions are diluting the strong stability that we have up till now. If the Federal government did not give Labour the funds they needed then he should have taken this as a sign that they have overspent. In the aftermath of the Federal election it does show how Labour was assuming that it had a win on its hands and so Barr thinks he had the money in the bank, another delusional sign of a government that thinks it has the wish of the people behind it which has shown it to be wrong at the last election

Capital Retro Capital Retro 9:30 pm 16 Jul 19

The Northern Territory has for a number of years obtained additional funding through issuing bonds as our Chief Minister and Treasurer intends to do.

This is what happens when it gets out of control:

k452 k452 1:10 pm 16 Jul 19

So what’s Brendan Smyth doing, isn’t he our Commissioner for International Engagement? Mr Invisible, must have the cushiest job in Canberra

Capital Retro Capital Retro 6:53 pm 15 Jul 19

This isn’t the type of “economic activity” we want where airline chiefs demand “free” land from our government to build hotels:

Capital Retro Capital Retro 9:05 am 15 Jul 19

Borrowing money offshore is fraught with latent problems. It is a very unstable way to go especially when onshore rates are lower than ever. Surely there are local institutions like the Industry Super Funds who would be happy to invest in Canberra infrastructure given the benefits that would flow onto their union stakeholders and it was nearly 20 years ago that they lost some tens of millions of dollars in the TransACT debacle.

While offshore rates may even be cheaper the exchange risk remains as many Australians (including state governments) remember when Australia needed to purge itself of Swiss Franc (CHF) borrowings in the late 1980’s. The massive losses incurred required restructure of State Government, Bank, Corporate and SME balance sheets and the ACT is in no position to gamble our financial future. I am sure there are many who will share my misgivings.

These are times that our opposition need to speak up as the Chief Minister appears to be out of control. We need consolidation – not more debt.

And the size of the banks he is visiting means nothing. I used to work for the fifth largest bank in the world – it now has only two branches left in regional England. Its rapid decline came mainly from foreign loan write-offs.

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