By Neil Primrose
The dynamics of decision-making in this town are changing. Canberra is now an international city with export-led growth and a new ethos. 2007 will see an acceleration of change in roles and perspectives.
The ACT Government is realising that it can’t do everything that is needed to meet the aspirations of the Canberra community. The business community is realising that it has the potential and the responsibly to work in partnership with the Government and the wider community to grow this economy.
The wider community is realising that Canberra is too small a market to uphold their aspirations. Complacency about growth, including population growth is no longer an option.
There is a gradual dawning of awareness that the complex of jurisdictional boundaries in the Capital Region are a significant burden on the economic and social health of the region – not to mention its development in competition with other regional growth centres.
The formal establishment of the various jurisdictions won’t change any time soon. However, we are seeing new partnerships between the business community and governments to develop the Capital Region as a national economic growth centre in support its the social and cultural richness.
The Action Agenda, “Eyes on the Future” of the Canberra Business Council and its kindred organisations right across the business community, is already producing results.
. A Regional Ministerial Council has been established to work on common prospects between the Federal and ACT Governments and the business community
. The business community has shared the cost of the ACT Government’s “Live in Canberra” campaigns
. Representation and involvement on the new ACT Skills Commission
. The full value of the education sector to the Capital Region is being researched and assessed.
. Discussions are starting between public servants and business leaders to grow awareness in government about how business works and what is needed for effective partnership.
. The business community is working on a number of alternatives for public-private partnerships to construct of a new convention centre.
. The Federal and Act Governments and the business community are extending export promotion to India, on the basis of promising growth in trade with China and Singapore.
Dr. Neil Primrose chairs the Action Agenda Co-ordination Group of the Canberra Business Council.
By Neil Primrose