Restoring an air link with Singapore will be high on the agenda of an ACT Government trade mission to the island state this week.
Chief Minister Andrew Barr is leading the mission which flew out of Canberra on Monday (8 August), while Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith will join the visit later in the week.
The government says the trip will span trade, investment, tourism promotion, education and health.
Mr Barr will meet with senior representatives from Singapore Airlines, the Singapore Tourism Board and the Minister-in-charge of Trade Relations for the Singapore Government to work towards the return of international flights, as well as increased tourism and trade opportunities between the two jurisdictions.
Singapore Airlines pulled the plug on its Canberra service in 2020 as part of a global downsizing of operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The government hopes that strengthening these connections will continue to support the recovery of Canberra’s tourism industry back to the $2.5 billion in visitor expenditure recorded pre-pandemic.
The government is also seeking to attract further investment into Canberra and local businesses, including promoting the recently released Build-To-Rent affordable housing model.
A Memorandum of Understanding between the Singapore Botanic Gardens and the National Arboretum Canberra will also be renewed and expanded to include sister city Wellington through the Wellington Botanic Garden.
Over the last four years, the Singapore Botanic Gardens and the National Arboretum have worked together on staff exchanges and learning opportunities.
The mission will also support local businesses with their activities in Singapore, including Agri-gate, which exports premium regional produce to Singapore.
Mr Barr will tour the Temasek Polytechnic Cyber Training Security Operations Centre to investigate how it developed relationships with industry and whether a similar facility at the new CIT campus in Woden could benefit Canberra industry.
Ms Stephen-Smith will tour multiple health facilities, including Ng Teng Fong General Hospital and Tan Tock Seng Hospital, to observe the impact of the recent ‘go-live’ of the Epic Digital Health Record – the same system that will be implemented across the ACT public hospital and health system in November 2022, and to learn more about health infrastructure and systems design.
She will meet with officials to learn more about how technology, innovation and workforce initiatives are supporting the Singapore health system.
The Minister will also visit the Bukit Canberra facility – a uniquely designed sport and community hub – giving the neighbourhood of Sembawang a holistic facility for active living and wellness.
The cost of the Chief Minister’s delegation is about $21,500, while the Health Minister’s is about $13,500.
These costs are fully met from within the ACT Executive budget and published in the quarterly Ministerial travel reports.