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New Commissioner to coordinate ACT’s global push

By Charlotte Harper - 12 July 2016 15

Andrew Barr with NZ PM John Key

The ACT Government will appoint a Commissioner for International Engagement with support staff as the city prepares for direct international flights to Singapore and Wellington in September.

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr (pictured with New Zealand Prime Minister John Key) led a delegation to Wellington last week and finalised a sister city relationship with the New Zealand capital while there. Canberra already had sister city relationships with Beijing, Nara and Timor Leste as well as a memorandum of understanding with Shenzhen in southern China. The Government and local business sector continue to work to foster ties with Singapore.

The new Office for International Engagement within the ACT Government will be tasked with undertaking a coordinated approach to the ACT’s international relations to better support local businesses and attract foreign investment. It will provide advice about opportunities with the potential to enhance the city’s competitiveness and reputation and its contribution to the region, according to a statement from ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr.

The office will support the Government’s soon-to-be announced International City Strategy.

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr said the ACT Government had pursued a strong international engagement effort over the past three years.

“This has lead to a rapid increase in exports, growth in the ACT’s tertiary education sector, increased foreign investment and an increase in internationalisation visitation to Canberra,” he said.

“We have reached a stage where we must lift our international effort to another level to compete with other Australian jurisdictions and major cities. Singapore Airline’s ‘Capital Express’ route commencing on 20 September and linking Canberra, Singapore and Wellington directly has the potential to grow and develop our city in new exciting directions.”

He said the list of cities “knocking on our door for a new relationship” was also growing.

Mr Barr said the new Commissioner would work with Canberra’s education and research institutions to profile the city as an education and investment destination.

“International students contribute nearly $500 million to Canberra’s economy per annum and significant growth is expected in the coming years,” he said.

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