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International recognition of Canberra no surprise

By Andrew Barr ACT Chief Minister - 1 December 2017 7
people dining by Lake Burley Griffin.

Lucky to live in Canberra: big plans are envisioned in 2018 for our nation’s capital. Photo: Supplied.

Lonely Planet’s announcement of Canberra being named as the third best city in the world to visit in 2018 caused the usual Canberra-bashing across social media, but for many of us who live here, such an accolade is not surprising.

This recognition is a result of a decade of transformative work. Canberra has fundamentally changed from the small, insular country town that it was in the 1960s and 70s, and there is no way that the Canberra of that era would have received this sort of international recognition.

Canberra has changed for the better. We are the happiest, healthiest, longest-living, best educated and wealthiest Australians.

This city is the best place in the world to live, and it has been recognised now as one of the best places in the world to visit.

This recognition will also be a great launching pad for the next phase of Canberra’s tourism development. The tourism industry is heading towards a $2.5 billion annual contribution to the territory’s economy, employing more than 16,000 Canberrans.

To put that in perspective, the Commonwealth public service is about 60,000 Canberrans and the ACT Government employs around 20,000 Canberrans.

The Lonely Planet accolade means our city is getting the recognition that it deserves. It has been incredibly encouraging in the immediate aftermath of the announcement – and in the weeks since – to see the very positive reaction across the nation and internationally to this recognition.

Yes, there are cynics and critics. Some of them reside in this city and some even purport to represent this city while talking this city down. That is very disappointing.

But we will be relentlessly positive about this city, its transformation, its tourism sector and the incredibly hard work that has been rewarded in our tourism and hospitality industry.

As we welcome more international visitors to our city through new direct flights, we have a significant program of world-class events lined up for 2018.

From the world-exclusive Cartier exhibition at the National Gallery of Australia to Canberra’s first cricket test match at Manuka Oval and with many events to celebrate our region’s fantastic coffee, food, and wine, 2018 will be a huge year for Canberra.

We are repositioning Canberra nationally and internationally, implementing progressive policies that are being recognised around the country and around the world. The recognition by Lonely Planet will be a fantastic boost to Canberra’s tourism industry.

I encourage everyone, even the miserable cynics, to get behind our city. Canberra is a great place to be.

Let us know what you love most about Canberra in the comments section below.

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7 Responses to
International recognition of Canberra no surprise
dungfungus 7:16 am 03 Dec 17

Woden Valley Community Council said :

The Chief Minister says ‘This city is the best place in the world to live, and it has been recognised now as one of the best places in the world to visit’.

Does this city include the town centres?

According to the Woden Town Centre Master Plan we are getting 24 storey ‘marker buildings’ so tourists know when they have arrived in Woden and they can orient themselves around. I fact Geocon is putting 800 apartments on 1.1 hectare so tourists will definitely know when they have arrived in Woden.

They will see our derelict buildings, the graffiti hot spot and the general lack of planning and care for the Town Centre. What if they stay, what will they do in the evening with the lack of after hours activity. Obviously Lonely Planet did not feel a need to see our ‘marker buildings’.

If we don’t want tourists to come to Woden, why are we having high rise ‘marker buildings’?

Why would tourists want to go to Woden in the first place?

bj_ACT 1:20 pm 02 Dec 17

Riot act responders are 100% correct to highlight these issues for canberra residents and particularly residents outside Mr Barr’s focus on his own inner north electorate.

Woden and Tuggeranong town centres are increasingly seeing closed shops and run down infrastructure.
And as mentioned, homelessness is a huge issue and the case of Kambah being found by Digital Finance Analytics to be the most Mortgage Stressed area in Australia should be a wake up call for the ACT government.

But unfortunately, Mr Barr will focus his efforts on popular adventures not helping the working poor in the outer suburbs.

Woden Valley Communi 11:37 pm 01 Dec 17

The Chief Minister says ‘This city is the best place in the world to live, and it has been recognised now as one of the best places in the world to visit’.

Does this city include the town centres?

According to the Woden Town Centre Master Plan we are getting 24 storey ‘marker buildings’ so tourists know when they have arrived in Woden and they can orient themselves around. I fact Geocon is putting 800 apartments on 1.1 hectare so tourists will definitely know when they have arrived in Woden.

They will see our derelict buildings, the graffiti hot spot and the general lack of planning and care for the Town Centre. What if they stay, what will they do in the evening with the lack of after hours activity. Obviously Lonely Planet did not feel a need to see our ‘marker buildings’.

If we don’t want tourists to come to Woden, why are we having high rise ‘marker buildings’?

dungfungus 6:21 pm 01 Dec 17

Phil on Mort said :

If we’re as smart and wealthy as we always appear in these polls, we should be the city that works out how to solve homelessness, because it’s the right thing to do.

Homelessness Australia [http://www.homelessnessaustralia.org.au/about/homelessness-statistics] states that since 2006 homelessness in Canberra has risen 70.6%, putting the numbers at 50 per 10,000 people being homeless in the ACT, current total at 1,785. So think about it, if that rate keeps rising as it has been, 10,000 homeless people here in Canberra isn’t really that far away.

If we let that happen, whoever is running Canberra at the time is going to look back at this period and lay the blame directly on the governance of this era, a government that let this problem slide until it was out of control.

Whatever is being done about homelessness in Canberra obviously isn’t enough and hasn’t been for a long time. With the growing numbers, pristine isn’t a word to be used about Canberra anymore, we don’t deserve it.

If you want to leave a real legacy Chief Minister do that, eliminate homelessness in Canberra, that would make it a truly great city and give it worldwide recognition for something worthy. Being lauded as the first major western city to eliminate homelessness would be far cooler than coming third in a backpackers guide.

When the novelty of the not-needed tram wears off (give it 6 months) and commuters go back to their cars and busses where they can find them, Transport Canberra will have lots of idle trams which could be converted into bunks for the homeless and parked along the route. It’s been done elsewhere in the world and considered in Melbourne using old railway sleeper carriages. http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/train-sleeper-carriages-just-the-ticket-for-melbournes-homeless-crisis-20161012-gs0o6w.html

Phil on Mort 2:19 pm 01 Dec 17

If we’re as smart and wealthy as we always appear in these polls, we should be the city that works out how to solve homelessness, because it’s the right thing to do.

Homelessness Australia [http://www.homelessnessaustralia.org.au/about/homelessness-statistics] states that since 2006 homelessness in Canberra has risen 70.6%, putting the numbers at 50 per 10,000 people being homeless in the ACT, current total at 1,785. So think about it, if that rate keeps rising as it has been, 10,000 homeless people here in Canberra isn’t really that far away.

If we let that happen, whoever is running Canberra at the time is going to look back at this period and lay the blame directly on the governance of this era, a government that let this problem slide until it was out of control.

Whatever is being done about homelessness in Canberra obviously isn’t enough and hasn’t been for a long time. With the growing numbers, pristine isn’t a word to be used about Canberra anymore, we don’t deserve it.

If you want to leave a real legacy Chief Minister do that, eliminate homelessness in Canberra, that would make it a truly great city and give it worldwide recognition for something worthy. Being lauded as the first major western city to eliminate homelessness would be far cooler than coming third in a backpackers guide.

bikhet 9:38 am 01 Dec 17

What a piece of self-serving puffery! While agree with some of the statements made by the OP, I feel they would have more impact if they were made by someone who didn’t have a political, or financial, interest in making them.

And at least one sentence give the lie to anyone who says Canberra isn’t a public service town!

dungfungus 7:26 am 01 Dec 17

So, with all this wealth generation from increased tourism and subsidised sporting events when are we going to see rate reductions and a general reduction in municipal taxes.
And while you are at it when is the Territory’s budget going to be in the black and the unfunded superannuation liability paid out?
When was the last time you had to use the ACT public hospital system, Mr Barr?

PS: You may call me a cynic but I will always support my version of “insular, small country town” Canberra which differs vastly from your obsession to get us international recognition and whatever vague benefit that gives us.

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