Page 106 - Week 01 - Tuesday, 27 November 2012

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I will give you an example: the talk of building a national museum started in 1980. I think the act was passed in 1983. It opened its doors in 2001 under a Howard government. So that is the time frame that it takes to get a significant building. For instance, the University of Canberra architecture students did a project four or five years ago on building a national history museum for Australia. I think I have mentioned in this place before, and there has been some conversation in the media now following an article, about the future of Canberra’s endangered species. So if we are going to see those sorts of outcomes, now is the time to start. (Time expired).

MS GALLAGHER (Molonglo—Chief Minister, Minister for Regional Development, Minister for Health and Minister for Higher Education) (4.29): I do welcome the opportunity to speak on this matter of public importance. It is just over five weeks until we enter our centennial year. In 105 days it will be 100 years since Lady Denman declared the name of the new capital of Australia “Canberra”, and we intend to mark this occasion with a yearlong celebration. Although it will be our 100th birthday celebration, it is perhaps best likened to an 18th birthday, a coming of age celebration and an opportunity to show the nation the city we have become and how we have matured over the past century.

Although 100 years is not much in the life of a city and we are very much, on international standards, a young city, this has been an extraordinary century. We have witnessed enormous changes in the way we live, work and travel, how we relate to and communicate with one another. Canberra has grown up as these changes have taken place. And so have at least 40 extraordinary Canberrans who have lived through this century, seeing it all unfold, and who will be recognised in our centenary year. Our city has been instrumental in the shaping of our nation’s history and we can be proud of our role as the centre of decision making and democracy in Australia.

But we know we have become much more than a place of politicians and public servants, and our centenary year is an opportunity to rebrand our city and build national pride in Canberra as the nation’s capital. It is also a very good opportunity to attract visitors to our wonderful city. Already conference and accommodation bookings are well above average and we expect to see thousands of extra tourists coming to Canberra and the region, spending money in Canberra and supporting jobs in our city.

But the centenary will do more than boost tourism in a single year. I think it will promote greater interest in investing in and living in Canberra for many years to follow, and this will make a real difference in building and maintaining a strong and dynamic ACT economy. All of us here today know that Canberra is a great place to live and that there is much to love about this city. Centenary creative director, Robyn Archer, and her team—her small team of very hardworking officers—have made sure that we will showcase Canberra as the vibrant and energetic city that it is.

In the lead-up to the celebrations we have asked Canberrans to help us spread the word about the year ahead and the things that make Canberra so special. So many members will have already seen the like Canberra campaign that started, I think, the day after the election campaign, once they moved us politicians out of the way. In just

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