View Navigation View Search

Australian Capital Territory

The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) and within it the nation’s capital, Canberra, provides an environment which not only stimulates high level public sector activity, but also drives innovation across all sectors of the community.

Being the home of the nation’s capital, one might expect that the ACT has expertise and experience in delivering public services. Yet, Australia’s capital is more and more being recognised for achievements outside of the public sector – outside of the sphere of federal politics and the national parliament.

Canberra is a thriving hub of knowledge-based activity. Ten percent of Australia’s public sector research and development is undertaken in the ACT. Our universities, the CSIRO and Government agencies are all leading the knowledge creation agenda. Our challenge lies in commercialising these opportunities locally and reaping full benefit for the broader community.

It has the highest education levels in the countries, and a tertiary education system that is leading the way in so many ways in Australia, and the world. International students continue to flock to Canberra to experience the quality education and the unsurpassed lifestyle. 

The private sector too has developed a wide range of skills and expertise that are required daily by the public sector, and local businesses deliver these skills – this expertise – effectively and efficiently and importantly innovatively. The local economy continues to outgrow that of the nation – as the nation outstrips growth of OECD countries.

The Defence industry is important to Canberra, and as home to Duntroon and ADFA, sees many of the nation’s Defence leaders pass through its doors.

However, Canberra is not just about the public and the private sectors. Canberra is far more. It has a vast array of national institutions, like the War Memorial, the National Gallery, the National Museum just to name a few. The city also has a high level of participation in cultural activities and nationally high levels of sporting participation and attendance. Canberran’s like to participate and to engage. And locals are particularly supportive of our national sporting teams, such as the Brumbies, the Raiders and the Capitals to name just a few.

But Canberra is not without challenges; and these challenges affect many of the residents, who more and more are making Canberra a permanent home – not just a transient employment opportunity as was the case in much of the 20th century. As Canberra approaches its centenary, we must also now consider the underprivileged amongst us, those who can not care for themselves, those who need the support of our local community and of our governments.

Housing costs remain high in the ACT. Many of our younger families can no longer afford the housing that was akin to a birth right for the previous generation. Delivering world class health services and caring for our aged continue to rise as matters of importance, as does continuing to provide exceptional quality life long education opportunities.

And as unemployment rates remain around the lowest in the country, employers are desperate for more skilled workers to meet the growing demands of a growing city. But still there remains many that do not, or cannot work, and they need assistance. Our social support systems need to meet growing demands placed upon them.

Population growth forecasts regularly undertaken, predict Canberra will exceed the 500,000 population barrier before 2050. This is a a mere 40 years away. The needs of the Canberra citizen of 2050 need to be planned for now, including for health and education services, and critical infrastructure such as roads and public transport. The city will need close to 70,000 additional dwellings over this period 40 years.

And of course we can not plan for our future in isolation. Within 20 minutes of our CBD is the thriving city of Queanbeyan, which has growth expectations exceeding those of Canberra itself. The dormitory commuter lifestyle communities of Yass, Bungendore, Michelago, Wamboin (to name just a few) and beyond, are growing as Canberra grows. Some 20,000 people cross the border into the ACT on a daily basis for their employment. We share our services with some 200,000 people who live outside our border – from near and from far.

No consideration of Canberra’s future can take place without sharing the discussion with those also dependant on our employment opportunities, our education and health systems, our cultural, entertainment and sporting facilities.  To this end, we must ensure a productive working relationship with the regional local governments, the RDA of Southern Inland and the South Coast, and the NSW Government agencies that are tasked with the provision of critical services to south eastern NSW.

To many, Canberra and the Capital Region is the best place in Australia to live, to work and to raise a family. Our task is to ensure that quality of life and access to opportunity remains as we grow into the future.