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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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15 Responses to
New Commissioner to coordinate ACT’s global push
HenryBG 2:26 pm 18 Jul 16

Maya123 said :

If we go to Singapore to help set up some IT or communications infrastructure for instance, or teach foreign companies how to do things smarter or more efficiently, are we not shooting ourselves in the foot? .

Er, do you think Australia’s ability to vandalise our own NBN is something that has export potential?

They are much more likely to go to, say, Rwanda for help, seeing as even that country, with their per capita GDP of $1,000 pa is rolling out FTTP instead of the defective approach taken here.

MERC600 1:42 pm 17 Jul 16

Maya123 said :

From a brief search of what Canberra actually exports, it seems that our services in the form of knowledge and “expertise” are the primary outgoing assets. Obviously education through our universities is leaving our shores in the heads of many foreign students too. Is this a good thing necessarily? If we go to Singapore to help set up some IT or communications infrastructure for instance, or teach foreign companies how to do things smarter or more efficiently, are we not shooting ourselves in the foot? Won’t the knowledge that is passed on give our competitors the advantage of being able to do things as well as Australians, but also much cheaper than we can?
As the old adage goes, “Give a man to fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime.” After we’ve given away our trade secrets to foreigners we will see our export markets grind to a halt.

“From a brief search of what Canberra actually exports ” .. I think once it was empty beer bottles and full public servants…or was that Darwin. Same thing anyway

HenryBG 7:55 pm 15 Jul 16

Masquara said :

What a joke. We are several $million in the red. .

Try half a $billion in the red…..

ACT Ratepayers are paying for this joke, and so are all those who deserve their city services to be run competently and without the distractions of party-politicians and their grand-standing…

HenryBG 7:47 pm 15 Jul 16

dungfungus said :

dungfungus said :

Is this “commissioner” named at all?
Is there any chance this job of flying around the world at ACT ratepayers’ expense has been awarded via a competitive process, or are we going to find this cushy little number has been awarded in the typical ACT Government manner?

Your question has been answered today. Three days after the position is advertised it is filled in the typical ACT Government manner. If the position was not advertised for merit selection, how can ACT residents and ratepayers know that the appointee (Brendon Smyth) is the best person for the job and that we are getting value for money. Without a merit based selection process this is just another political appointment. It doesn’t just smell fishy, it stinks.

You just can’t satirise the ACT Government. Fact remains stranger than fiction.

Even stranger is the fact that people will vote this lot back in, come September, despite the absolutely ridiculous waste of our money that they represent.

Affirmative Action M 4:35 pm 15 Jul 16

What a joke. We are several $million in the red. The sister city deal with Nara resulted in very little except junkets and snouts in the tough for a select few. Next budget we’ll probably have an Overseas Commissioner levy added to the bill.

Acton 1:59 pm 15 Jul 16

dungfungus said :

Is this “commissioner” named at all?
Is there any chance this job of flying around the world at ACT ratepayers’ expense has been awarded via a competitive process, or are we going to find this cushy little number has been awarded in the typical ACT Government manner?

Your question has been answered today. Three days after the position is advertised it is filled in the typical ACT Government manner. If the position was not advertised for merit selection, how can ACT residents and ratepayers know that the appointee (Brendon Smyth) is the best person for the job and that we are getting value for money. Without a merit based selection process this is just another political appointment. It doesn’t just smell fishy, it stinks.

HenryBG 12:13 pm 14 Jul 16

Is this “commissioner” named at all?
Is there any chance this job of flying around the world at ACT ratepayers’ expense has been awarded via a competitive process, or are we going to find this cushy little number has been awarded in the typical ACT Government manner?

chiflean 10:20 pm 13 Jul 16

No need to post the press release, but I would like to confirm that Barr actually used the phrase ‘internationalisation visitation’. If so, I suppose the concept of a ‘Commissioner for International Engagement’ seems comparably quite normal. I suppose this Commisioner will have statutory powers to internationally engage.

HiddenDragon 5:52 pm 13 Jul 16

Difficult to see why this job needs the statutory independence which usually goes with the title of “commissioner”, so presumably the title has been adopted (without the statutory underpinnings) to make the occupant sound important when waving the ACT flag hither and yon(?).

If we’re really going for effect, why not something along the lines of Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary (of the Duchy of Grand Fenwick)…..

Charlotte Harper 8:17 am 13 Jul 16

Holden Caulfield said :

Oh look, another article which reads like an ACT Labor government press release.

Written and authorised by the Riot Act.

Hi @Wayne_K. This article did originate with a press release but I did a substantial cull of the self-congratulatory waffle and rewrite to ensure the piece contained only the facts and a couple of quotes in an order of my choosing, not theirs, as I would with any newsworthy press release from any side of politics. Happy to post the press release itself so you can compare away if you like.

wildturkeycanoe 9:10 pm 12 Jul 16

From a brief search of what Canberra actually exports, it seems that our services in the form of knowledge and “expertise” are the primary outgoing assets. Obviously education through our universities is leaving our shores in the heads of many foreign students too. Is this a good thing necessarily? If we go to Singapore to help set up some IT or communications infrastructure for instance, or teach foreign companies how to do things smarter or more efficiently, are we not shooting ourselves in the foot? Won’t the knowledge that is passed on give our competitors the advantage of being able to do things as well as Australians, but also much cheaper than we can?
As the old adage goes, “Give a man to fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime.” After we’ve given away our trade secrets to foreigners we will see our export markets grind to a halt.

bigred 8:26 pm 12 Jul 16

Was wondering what gig they had lined up for Simon Corbell. Now we know!

Wayne_k 7:15 pm 12 Jul 16

Oh look, another article which reads like an ACT Labor government press release.

Written and authorised by the Riot Act.

rommeldog56 3:40 pm 12 Jul 16

Holden Caulfield said :

What an out-of-touch Chief Minister.

Manage the budget better? Nup, hide the numbers.
http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/doubt-cast-on-state-of-the-act-budget-and-promised-return-to-surplus-20160710-gq2t0m.html

Manage hospitals better? Nup, hide the numbers.
http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/act-government-forced-to-correct-misleading-data-on-hospital-performance-20160515-govv1u.html

Manage schools better – Nup, hide the numbers.
http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/ct-editorial/massaging-school-capacity-figures-is-not-management-20160615-gpk6g7.html

Manage the jail better? Ahahahahaha.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-04-18/prisoners-bored-in-canberra-jail-says-act-report/6402910

Manage public transport better? Nup, build a tram for 3% and continue strangling the bus network to pay for it.
http://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2016/06/auditor-general-slams-act-light-rail-pork/

Manage municipal services better, like bushfire hazard reduction, or waste management? Nup, not sexy.
http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/authorities-havent-learned-from-canberra-2003-bushfires-residents-say-20160118-gm89cm.html
http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/canberra-garbage-truck-drivers-strike-for-fourth-time-on-friday-20160707-gq0ocs.html

Manage the supply of land, helping drive the economy? Nup, blow up a bubble to hide your economic mismanagement.
http://www.theage.com.au/comment/ct-editorial/industrys-warning-should-be-heeded-20160625-gprsiw.html

With all that public mismanagement, how ironic Barr is spruiking overseas flights – though they may be more helpful for Canberra residents fleeing his wrecking of the economy rather than tourists flying in to Barr’s backwater.

Haha…..and yet, still they will be returned in October. So, I guess the joke is the apathetic ACT voters and Ratepayers, not the pollies.

A_Cog 12:42 pm 12 Jul 16

What an out-of-touch Chief Minister.

Manage the budget better? Nup, hide the numbers.
http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/doubt-cast-on-state-of-the-act-budget-and-promised-return-to-surplus-20160710-gq2t0m.html

Manage hospitals better? Nup, hide the numbers.
http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/act-government-forced-to-correct-misleading-data-on-hospital-performance-20160515-govv1u.html

Manage schools better – Nup, hide the numbers.
http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/ct-editorial/massaging-school-capacity-figures-is-not-management-20160615-gpk6g7.html

Manage the jail better? Ahahahahaha.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-04-18/prisoners-bored-in-canberra-jail-says-act-report/6402910

Manage public transport better? Nup, build a tram for 3% and continue strangling the bus network to pay for it.
http://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2016/06/auditor-general-slams-act-light-rail-pork/

Manage municipal services better, like bushfire hazard reduction, or waste management? Nup, not sexy.
http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/authorities-havent-learned-from-canberra-2003-bushfires-residents-say-20160118-gm89cm.html
http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/canberra-garbage-truck-drivers-strike-for-fourth-time-on-friday-20160707-gq0ocs.html

Manage the supply of land, helping drive the economy? Nup, blow up a bubble to hide your economic mismanagement.
http://www.theage.com.au/comment/ct-editorial/industrys-warning-should-be-heeded-20160625-gprsiw.html

With all that public mismanagement, how ironic Barr is spruiking overseas flights – though they may be more helpful for Canberra residents fleeing his wrecking of the economy rather than tourists flying in to Barr’s backwater.

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