‘Divorced from Parliament House’: push for Canberra to become a National Park City

Dominic Giannini 9 June 2021 4
Parliament House

One ACT MLA has called for a diverse between Canberra and Parliament House. Photo: Dominic Giannini.

Labor backbencher Dr Marisa Paterson is urging Canberra to become the world’s second National Park City, a move which she said could help “divorce Parliament House” from people’s perceptions of Canberra.

To become a National Park City, the ACT Government would need to undertake community consultation and prove that Canberra had a focus on the environment, including the provision of green spaces, air and water quality and wildlife and habitat protection.

The accolade, administered by the National Park City Foundation, would give Canberra an edge in the tourism market by highlighting the Bush Capital’s scenic environment and sustainability, Dr Paterson said.

“It is a beautiful place to come visit and live, and we really want to promote that,” she said.

“Given COVID, we are in a very competitive tourism environment nationally and internationally, and this is a way we can stand out in that market.”

Dr Marisa Paterson

Dr Marisa Paterson is pushing to make Canberra a National Park City. Photo: Dominic Giannini.

Marred by the conflation of Canberra and Parliament House, Dr Paterson said the city was more than the policies and actions of federal parliamentarians on the Hill.

“Canberra residents are sick of hearing ‘Canberra’ referred to when people are talking about Parliament House and we have a lot to offer here and we want to promote our city,” Dr Paterson said.

“It means putting what we have to offer on display, and we have a huge amount, [including our] bush heritage.”


READ ALSO: How to build Canberra’s first gas-free town centre


London is the only city to be recognised as a National Park City, but at least five other cities, including Adelaide, have expressed interest in being recognised by the Foundation.

Dr Paterson said there was no definitive timeline for accreditation given community consultation was needed, but she was hoping the process would take months rather than years.

More information about National Park Cities can be found at www.nationalparkcity.org.


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4 Responses to ‘Divorced from Parliament House’: push for Canberra to become a National Park City
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MERC600 MERC600 7:40 pm 11 Jun 21

Have thought of just occasionally, that perhaps the happiest way would be is to leave the triangle in Fed hands, and the rest be a part of NSW.
Of course the small problem here is that NSW would never take on such a large lot of dysfunctional peoples ( Dear reader, not you of course .. I mean the others ).

Brindie Brindie 12:38 pm 11 Jun 21

Dr Paterson’s time and energy should be directed to issues of relevance to her constituents – such as traffic congestion in the Molonglo Valley and Weston Creek; lack of facilities in the Molonglo Valley (no shops and limited sporting facilities); poor planning and rapacious developers; poor public transport and increasing crime rates (particularly hooning). The National Park City project smacks of a make-work exercise developed by a Labor staffer in order to keep a backbencher occupied.

russianafroman russianafroman 6:43 pm 10 Jun 21

Funny how London is branded a “national park city” despite being one of the most polluted and grimy cities in the western world

Mike of Canberra Mike of Canberra 5:24 pm 10 Jun 21

Presumably, becoming a National Park City and therefore a forward-looking one would involve forward looking ideas. One would assume such ideas wouldn’t include driving ordinary people out of this city because it’s so expensive to live here. It may also involve not making the populace pay for expensive, yet out-of-date public transport options such as a fixed- line tram. You know the idea, ride the tram to somewhere then work for hours to get to where you’re really going. And almost certainly, I wouldn’t imagine a National Park City being founded on countless green-space destroying apartment developments; or a city with a crumbling hospital network as the centrepiece of our health system. How about a city with inadequate services resulting in a crumbling urban infrastructure for Canberra residents? Are these the sorts of concepts you see underpinning your National Park City Dr Paterson?

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