Page 2181 - Week 08 - Tuesday, 4 August 2015

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travelled to Canberra to attend the game. The match achieved an average viewership of over 16 million in China, with a peak viewing audience of around 30 million.

The delegation that I led to Beijing in April was my first visit to Beijing as Chief Minister. I found the warmth and hospitality afforded during the mission especially impressive. Indeed, each time an ACT trade mission travels to Beijing we are provided with enormous hospitality and access to Chinese officials at the highest levels. It is this welcome recognition, collaborative environment and shared respect that are testament to the relevance, importance and value of the Canberra-Beijing sister city agreement.

Our first official engagement for this delegation was to finalise discussions with Beijing’s National Library of China prior to announcing a partnership with the National Library of Australia to bring the historic Qing: Life in China 1644-1911 exhibition to Canberra. This exhibition is a one-off event that will be exclusive to our city. It scheduled to open in the first half of 2016 and will display 300 years of Chinese life, culture and tradition. The ACT government will be supporting the staging of the exhibition through our special event fund, contributing $200,000 in matched funding to promote the exhibition to Australian audiences and encourage visitors to come to the ACT and experience the exhibition, along with everything else our city has to offer.

The partnership with the National Library of Australia follows previous highly successful exhibition partnerships that brought the Handwritten and Mapping our World exhibitions to Canberra in 2011 and 2013 respectively. Fifty per cent of visitors to each of those exhibitions were from interstate, and the combined ACT government investment for these two exhibitions of $400,000 delivered $38.1 million in economic return for the ACT.

Investment in the Qing exhibition also contributes to the ACT government’s efforts to diversify and deepen our relationship with China, encouraging business, education and tourism engagement. It strengthens our sister city relationship and confirms the importance of trade, tourism and economic and cultural ties between our two cities.

Following this announcement, I met with Her Excellency Ms Frances Adamson, the Australian ambassador to China, and Mr Michael Clifton, the Austrade senior trade commissioner to Beijing. This was an opportunity to brief and update the ambassador on the ACT government’s high-level priorities on key developments and projects in Canberra and to discuss the Australia-China relationship as well as the specific Canberra-Beijing sister city relationship.

Discussion also focused on the opportunities presented following the recent completion of negotiations for a China-Australia free trade agreement. The agreement presents major trade and export opportunities in the tourism, education, healthcare and professional services sectors. Each of these fields present significant opportunities for the ACT’s private sector and research partnerships, and they complement the ACT government’s high-level priorities of transport reform, ongoing urban renewal and continuing work to build Canberra as Australia’s premier knowledge capital.

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