Page 3907 - Week 11 - Tuesday, 19 September 2017
With the light rail project, the Mitsubishi Corporation acts as a member of the Canberra Metro consortia. The strong relationship that we have with our sister city provides us with a platform to enhance our engagement with one of Australia’s largest trading partners. This will be further enhanced through “Australia now”, a celebration of Australia which will be held in Japan in 2018, as a country of strategic significance. Canberra will be involved in “Australia now”, raising our profile as an innovative, contemporary and creative city and as an attractive and safe place to explore, study, invest, conduct business and to live. This is an opportunity to consolidate partnerships and exchange people and links with people in Japan.
But let us not forget that the capital express does not stop in Canberra. The route from Singapore Airlines travels to Singapore and also to Wellington, as the capital of our nearby neighbour, New Zealand. We have had a sister-city relationship with Wellington since July 2016. In our international engagement strategy the government has outlined education, tourism, ICT, defence, spatial science, health and renewable energy as just some of our key capability areas.
In our sister-city agreement with Wellington, there is a shared commitment between our Chief Minister and the Wellington mayor to facilitate partnerships and tourism promotion, jointly supporting innovation and technology start-up ecosystems, biodiversity initiatives, mutual exchange regarding renewable and sustainable energy supply, and delegations that connect businesses between each of the cities. New Zealand will always be a close partner of Australia and building a strong relationship between our two capital cities will also benefit the economy and provide more job opportunities for Canberrans and Wellingtonians.
I am very pleased to have been able to bring forward this matter of public importance to the chamber today. International engagement is vital to support economic and job opportunities in the ACT. We must continue to engage with confidence and engage based on the deliberate strategy our government has put in place to benefit all Canberrans.
MR COE (Yerrabi—Leader of the Opposition) (3.39): It is a pleasure to talk about such an important issue and I very much thank Mr Steel for bringing forward this matter of public importance; that is, the importance of international engagement to support economic and job growth opportunities in the ACT. We on this side stand in complete unity with the government on the importance of this strategy and the importance to Canberra of getting this role of government right.
Of course, there are many benefits to trade and investment in our region. Trade promotes economic growth, builds wealth and raises household incomes. Trade does bring down the cost of goods and brings much more diversity and choice to our markets as well. It supports and creates jobs and creates new markets for Australian products and, in particular, products from here in Canberra and indeed the region.
There are many, many benefits in getting involved in a global promotion of the region. I think for a long time, as Mr Steel hinted at, Canberra has either thought that we were too small to engage in overseas trade or we have simply piggybacked on other