Undeniably Canberra is a public service town. Commonwealth government departments employ a brobdignagian volume of Canberrans; if you don’t happen to work in the APS right now, there is a good chance that you might have in the past. Or you spouse might. You might live over the back fence from a FAS or sink the odd beer with Baz, the maintenance bloke at DBCDE. Ergo, I’m assuming that you probably have some idea of what the silly service is and how it fits into the social fabric of Canberra.
At this time of the year the APS absorbs a huge number of freshly-suited eager young things who, let it be said, generally have very little understanding of either the APS or of Canberra but are hell-bent on making something of themselves.
Invariably during their early months riding the gravy train in our fair town, grads will have lunch with fellow grads, drink at the pub with grads, live with grads and quite possibly hook up with other grads.
This is all very insular, to my way of thinking at least. It can take a while for grads to move beyond APS circles and I think their time here is the poorer for it. A large number of grads leave town within a couple of years of moving here and I think this is in large part due to an inability (or perhaps reluctance) to integrate with the wider (that is, non-APS and certainly non-grad) Canberra.
Can you, good readers of the RA, offer any suggestions to our new residents so that grads’ experience of Canberra is as broad as possible?
What should grads seek in Canberra? What should they avoid? Indeed, is there any hope for them?
[ED – I suppose the first step is to point them in our direction here!]