ACT Strategic Regional Plan

2011-12

A framework for economic, social and environmental development initiatives in the ACT and region

This is the second release of the ACT Strategic Regional Plan produced by Regional Development Australia ACT (RDA ACT). The Commonwealth Government - administered through the Department of Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government, and the ACT Government administered through the Chief Minister and Cabinet Directorate, provided joint funding for the Regional Plan. Information included in the Regional Plan has been sourced from consultations with a broad range of key stakeholders over the past six months, including significant input provided at the Canberra Leaders’ Consultative Forum held in May 2011. Information contained in the Regional Plan is believed to be correct at the time of publishing, however no responsibility is taken for errors or omissions in the information contained within. RDA ACT acknowledges with thanks the many people who contributed to this Regional Plan, including: • the broad range of ACT and regional stakeholders – across the government, business, industry, education and community sectors, who generously shared their knowledge and experience; • the volunteer members of the RDA ACT Committee who similarly shared their expertise and local knowledge, including Chair - Craig Sloan, Deputy Chair - Barbara Norman, Des Walsh, Christine Macauley, Jean McIntyre, David Gregory, Nargis Carnahan and Gary Chapman. Long-term RDA ACT member DR DrrChristopher Bourke resigned from the Committee in May 2011 when he was elected to the ACT Legislative Assembly as the new Member for Ginninderra; • Pippa Harbers – pcreative Boutique Design for graphic design and photography; and • RDA ACT Executive Officer, Robert van Aalst, and Manager - Projects and Communications, Liz Veitch. Enquires about this Regional Plan should be directed to: Regional Development Australia ACT PO Box 362, Dickson ACT 2602 Phone: (02) 6173 7000 Email: regional.plan@rdaact.org.au More information about Regional Development Australia ACT is available at: www.rdaact.org.au August 2011

ACT Strategic Regional Plan 2011-12

Table of Contents
Introduction
From the Chair Executive Summary The Sustainability and Innovation Overlays The Regional Development Perspective Regional Development Australia 1 3 5 6 7

The Three Dimensions of Canberra
1. The Capital of the ACT • • • • 2. 3. • • • • • • • Canberra - a unique city Image of Canberra Canberra’s distinctive advantages Canberra planning National Capital Authority Role as a regional leader Regional synergies Best practice for working across jurisdictions Working with regional groups Working with the NSW Government and its agencies Working with Local Governments with a strong connection to Canberra 11 11 11 12 13 17 18 19 19 20 21 22 22 22

The Nation’s Capital – its roles and responsibilities Canberra - the Regional Capital

The Five Pillars of Development
1. A Resilient and Diverse Economy • • • • • • • • • • • • An historical reliance on the public sector A private sector dominated by micro firms Building the economy – future directions The ACT Government’s role in the local economy Growing strengths in export and ‘internationalisation’ Building the ACT’s global competitiveness Commercialisation and Knowledge Transfer Tourism Addressing the skills shortages Regional skills coordination Building regional business opportunities A Clean Economy aspiration 25 25 26 28 28 29 29 30 31 32 33 33 34

ACT Strategic Regional Plan 2011-12

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An Exemplar of Environmental Sustainability • • • • • • • • ACT Government’s ambitious GHG emission targets The natural environment Natural Resource Management A sustainable built environment Renewable energy Creating a clean economy Waste management Food security Education assets Economic drivers Structural changes Life-long learning Education for inclusiveness Connected – locally, regionally, nationally and globally Transport – road, air and rail Virtual connectivity ICT innovation Social connectivity utilising technology Access to services National Broadband Network On-line engagement The social, disability and community services sector The community sector Volunteering Access to employment Education Health and well-being services National health reform Mental health care Aged care The ‘regional relationship’ Housing Meeting the changing needs – affordable housing

35 35 36 37 38 39 40 40 41 42 43 43 44 46 46 47 47 47 53 53 54 55 55 56 58 58 59 60 61 61 62 63 63 64 65 66 67

3.

Education and Opportunity • • • • •

4.

A Connected Canberra • • • • • • • •

5.

Empowered Communities • • • • • • • • • • • •

ACT Strategic Regional Plan 2011-12

Introduction

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ACT Strategic Regional Plan 2011-12

From the Chair
It is exciting to look back over the past year and realise just how much we have achieved. In July 2010, the new Regional Development Australia ACT (RDA ACT) Committee was being invested. Since that time we have made strong progress into identifying our priorities and progressing our objectives, with much of the work being undertaken through RDA ACT Sub-Committees in Education, Environment and Transport.

Introduction

Craig Sloan, Chairman — Regional Development Australia ACT

The strength of focus that the current Australian Government is placing on regional development is unprecedented. The Government is providing $4.3 billion of funding to local regions to support economic, social and environmental growth and development, including through the Regional Development Australia Fund (RDAF). Support for the regions is also being enhanced through regional development organisations such as RDAs, which will facilitate development with a regional perspective, and strengthen effective communication links between regional communities and the Government. The RDAs’ role is to facilitate the changes that are driving the success of the regions to become vital, liveable places where people want to spend time, raise a family, grow a business, and have a sense of well-being. This will ensure not only the survival and development of rural and regional Australia, but also the sustainability of our capital cities. The RDAF supports infrastructure projects that are deemed important for the economic and community development of Australia’s regions, and its guidelines place a strong focus on RDA collaboration on cross-region projects. The RDAs’ role in the RDAF selection process is to endorse local projects that align with the Committee’s strategic objectives for their region. One hundred million dollars was allocated in Round One of the $1 b Fund, with over 500 applications currently being considered. Round Two is expected be announced in coming months, and I advise potential project proponents to seek the involvement of their local RDA in the early stages of their application. The ACT Government has also provided strong support for RDA ACT. At our recent Canberra Leaders’ Consultative Forum, the Chief Minister - in her first day in the role, the Deputy Chief Minister, and many agency leaders joined with other key regional stakeholders to impart information that provided a comprehensive and contemporary representation of the key local issues of the day.

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Through widespread stakeholder consultation – including at the Leaders’ Forum, and from a myriad of other meetings and consultations and review of government documentation, RDA ACT has been working to obtain a deeper understanding of local needs, gaps, duplications and regional planning issues, which have provided the organisation with the capacity to present a strategic and regional response to the opportunities and challenges that have been identified. The culmination of this knowledge underpins this ACT Strategic Regional Plan 2011-12 – a balanced, comprehensive and overarching report, unique in that it provides a strategic planning perspective for the ACT in its three contexts of Canberra as a city of people, as the nation’s capital, and the hub of the south-east NSW region. The big national issues and debates also give context to regional deliberations – carbon pricing and its ramifications, the roll out of the National Broadband Network, mitigating the effects of climate change ... and social justice. Canberra, as the nation’s capital and forum for Australian Government deliberations, has a leadership role in facing and resolving policy to deal with these issues. The future offers exciting opportunities for the ACT. With its strengths in education and innovative ICT particularly, Canberra has the potential to become a global city, competing for a share of world markets. Also, a broad range of ACT and NSW government and key regional clean economy stakeholders are currently investigating the potential for creating a centre of excellence in renewable energy in our south-east region. I would like to take this opportunity to thank RDA ACT Members who, as volunteers and community leaders, give generously of their time, knowledge and expertise. These Members’ contributions to the work of RDA ACT is helping to build and grow local opportunities, and to put forward strategic solutions to meet local challenges that will enhance Canberra’s liveability and the well-being of its people.

Craig Sloan
Chairman, Regional Development Australia ACT

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ACT Strategic Regional Plan 2011-12

Executive Summary
Vision:
The Australian Capital Territory will be an empowered community that encourages people and organisations to live, learn and conduct business together sustainably. At the heart of the ACT is Canberra - a city of three dimensions: a city in its own right - a home for its people; the capital of Australia and home of the federal government; and the regional hub for south-east NSW. The complex relationships between the ACT, the Australian Government and the surrounding region provide the framework for the Regional Plan. The ACT’s strong economy, liveability and future development is based on five pillars - Canberra is a city that focuses on providing a resilient and diverse economy, an exemplar of environmental sustainability, education and opportunity, connectivity, and empowered communities.

Introduction

1.

A Resilient and Diverse Economy
Strategic Objective: To develop a strong, stable and growing ACT economy that provides meaningful employment and financial reward for all its residents.

RDA ACT will support projects and activities that will … • Develop business opportunities, with a focus on those adopting a sustainable and regional approach; • Build on the existing ACT economic strengths in public service delivery, education services, and knowledge and wealth creation through research and development; • Increase the ACT’s national and global business competitiveness; and • Address the on-going need for skilled workers to address labour shortages and support a diversifying economy.

2.

An Exemplar of Environmental Sustainability
Strategic Objective: To generate prominence for the ACT in the innovative creation of sustainable communities.

RDA ACT will support projects and activities that will ... • Assist the ACT Government to achieve its greenhouse gas emission reduction targets and achieve carbon neutrality by 2060; • Create ecologically sustainable development in the built and natural environments by promoting energy efficiency measures and the uptake of renewable energy; • Facilitate the creation of more low carbon jobs, research and training opportunities; and • Protect and leverage the natural assets of the ACT and region – its biodiversity, soils, landscapes, water and air quality.

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3.

Education and Opportunity
Strategic Objective: To strengthen the ACT’s education institutions to advance economic growth and community development.

RDA ACT will support projects and activities that will … • Develop links between education institutions, national cultural institutions and professional organisations to create opportunities for professional learning in identified growth sectors such as health care and Information and Communications Technology (ICT); • Engage residents locally, nationally and globally in science education and innovation; and • Create pathways for individuals to identify and take up learning opportunities that enhance their productive engagement in the economy and society more generally.

4.

A Connected Canberra
Strategic Objective: To enhance the social and economic advantage of the community by offering economically viable and innovative transport and communications solutions to overcome current barriers and challenges.

RDA ACT will support projects and activities that will … • Capitalise on current initiatives to increase the use of public transport and active transport modes within the ACT; • Improve the efficiency of regional commuting through the development of integrated transport options; • Improve transport connections between the ACT and its region - nationally and internationally, providing benefits for its residents and businesses; and • Capitalise on the National Broadband Network roll-out by better linking the community through the provision of access to ICT technology that enables improved connections.

5.

Empowered Communities
Strategic Objective: To empower individuals within the ACT to have the confidence and capacity to shape their own and their community’s destinies.

RDA ACT will support projects and activities that will … • Promote social inclusion and address disadvantage through stimulating community engagement and participatory planning; • Support effective planning for population growth and ageing that facilitates improved connections within and between communities; • Support the equitable provision of regional health services with increasing focus on e-health, preventative health and consumer empowerment; and • Provide housing choices to meet the needs of the growing population and its changing demographic.

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ACT Strategic Regional Plan 2011-12

The Sustainability and Innovation Overlays
The capacity to achieve these strategic objectives will be enhanced through applying the crosscutting principles of sustainability and innovation to each one. To achieve sustainability we must ‘meet the needs of the present, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs’1, and recognise that it is those people who embrace this principle who are most likely to succeed2.

Introduction

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“A sustainable Australia is a nation of sustainable communities that have the right mix of services, job and education opportunities, affordable housing, amenity and natural environment that make them places where people want to live, work and build a future.”3 The Regional Plan strives to address the balance of these priorities in the ACT. Innovation is the key ingredient when adapting to changes that have resulted from an ever more complex world, one that is characterised by increasing human demands and a limited resources base4. Innovation is often technology based – to be ‘on top of the innovation curve’ means utilising innovation in previously unimaginable ways, as a clever tool that changes the way we do things e.g. the search engine Google (for accessing information and knowledge), and the social networking site Facebook (for enhancing social connectedness). Market forces have an important role in triggering innovation, and public debate has a major bearing on the freedom to innovate e.g. genetically modified food. Throughout the Regional Plan, innovation – as a concept that can move us towards achieving sustainable development in giant steps, and sustainability – that can stimulate economic growth without causing environmental damage, are identified as critical overarching objectives.
1 2 3 4 Brundtland Report - Our Common Future, World Commission on Environment and Development, Oxford University Press, 1987. Sustainability: The ‘Embracers’ Seize Advantage, MIT Sloan Management Review Research Report, Winter 2011. Sustainable Australia – Sustainable Communities: An Overview, Australian Government, 2011. The Future International Union for Conservation of Nature: http://www.iucn.org/about/work/global_programme/innovation/

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The Regional Development Perspective
Historically, Australia has a poor record in formal policy and programs aimed at developing the regions. Organic growth has been allowed to flourish, resulting in Australia being one of the most highly urbanised countries in the world. However, in recent years the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has provided a framework that highlights the necessity for countries to more effectively develop their regions. New evidence continues to emerge that supports the theory that, in a globally competitive environment, it is the regions that are the practical units of global competitiveness, not countries, nor indeed cities.

“Regions are defined by a shared sense of place, and a common purpose or destiny”
Simon Crean MP - Minister for Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government

Within this environment, Australia is now taking on its regional development responsibilities. The Australian Government, in the Federal Budget 2011-12, provided unprecedented support for regional Australia with more than $4 billion of funding allocated towards regional health, education and infrastructure projects. In recent times there has also been significant re-engagement by the Australian Government with city planning and infrastructure delivery – evidenced by the release of the National Urban Policy, the Sustainable Population Policy, the work of Infrastructure Australia and the Major Cities Unit, and the COAG Reform Council, in managing strategic planning systems. The focus of the current Australian Minister for Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government, Simon Crean, is to empower the economic potential of Australia’s regions, facilitating change that drives increased prosperity and well-being for regional communities. He places focus on ‘localism’ - appreciating that all regions have unique challenges and strengths, and that ‘locals’ are in the best position to identify local priorities and suggest solutions. The Minister has said, “we want to identify the creative, strategic local solutions that will drive growth across the regions … and also boost the national economy.” More recently he remarked, “We talk about the patchwork economy, and … it’s the regions that are the patches, and that’s why we’ve got to look at these things (economies) on a different basis, region-by-region.”5 Minister Crean considers that, “regions are defined by a shared sense of place, and a common purpose or destiny”. That is, that boundary lines on a map should not hinder progress, but rather provide synergies that facilitate regional planning and development. The Federal Treasurer said in Parliament recently, ‘among the most important things we can do to help deal with population pressures, is to make regions more attractive places to work and raise a family.’ This is an important message for Canberra, and one that has been espoused to large-city dwellers through the on-going Live in Canberra program, and one that could be developed further to attract residents to Canberra and the region.

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http://www.minister.regional.gov.au/sc/pressconf/2011/SCT041_2011.aspx

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ACT Strategic Regional Plan 2011-12

Regional Development Australia
Regional Development Australia (RDA) is a network of 55 Committees formed in 2008-09 as an amalgam of the previous federal and state/territory government endeavours in regional development. Each RDA Committee represents a region of Australia, and all of Australia is represented by an RDA Committee. The role of RDA Committees is to build partnerships between key regional stakeholders, and to facilitate locally relevant responses to economic, environmental and social issues that affect local communities across Australia. RDAs facilitate regional planning at a strategic level, based on informed community consultation with key local region stakeholders, including: • all levels of government - federal, state/territory and local; • with business and industry; • education, training and research institutions; and • community organisations. RDAs also form a two-way link that communicates community messages to governments, and visa versa. RDAs are funded through a partnership of state/territory and federal governments – in the case of RDA ACT, the Australian and ACT governments provide joint funding.

Introduction

Regional Development Australia ACT
RDA ACT Committee members have been ministerially appointed, and bring their expertise, experience and networks to enrich the work of the Committee on a volunteer basis, representing the public, private and community sectors of Canberra and its region. Having undertaken broad stakeholder engagement during the first half of 2011 – including at the Canberra Leaders’ Consultative Forum (CLCF), RDA ACT has used this cumulative knowledge to inform a deep understanding of the ACT’s priorities, opportunities and challenges and synthesised it to produce this document. The ACT Strategic Regional Plan encapsulates the economic, social and environmental priorities of the ACT within a regional context, and describes a vision and strategic directions for its future.

(from left) Leaders’ Forum facilitator James O’Loghlin, RDA ACT Chair Craig Sloan, Senator for the ACT Kate Lundy, and RDA ACT Executive Officer Robert van Aalst

Although the work of RDA ACT focuses on ACT priorities, given Canberra’s regional significance, RDA ACT also continues to work closely with other RDAs, particularly RDA Southern Inland which services the region surrounding the ACT, and RDA Far South Coast.

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Canberra Leaders’ Consultative Forum
Regional Development Australia ACT’s inaugural Canberra Leaders’ Consultative Forum 2011 was promoted as … ‘a powerful conversation between ACT government, business and community leaders’. Held in May 2011, a wide representation of Canberra’s key stakeholders attended and contributed to a discussion on issues around the ACT’s priorities in economic development, sustainability, innovation, education and social inclusion. The object of the day was to harvest key stakeholders’ knowledge and expertise and the result was a comprehensive and overarching snapshot of Canberra’s opportunities and challenges. Planning, as a continuous process, needs opportunities to refresh and re-organise information, to change priorities and shift emphases in response to new information and emerging trends. With this in mind, RDA ACT will continue to plan regular consultation events in order to ensure it remains up to date with emerging issues.

ACT Strategic Regional Plan 2011-12
The Australian Government requires RDA Committees to refresh and re-examine their Regional Plans at least annually, and this is the second iteration of the ACT Regional Plan. The information presented in the ACT Strategic Regional Plan 2011-12 has been underpinned by the messages gathered at the Leaders’ Forum and on-going consultation with key stakeholders, but it is more than an information gathering document. RDA ACT adds value to this compilation of information by putting forward a strategic plan that identifies the opportunities, responds to local challenges, reflects the views of local stakeholders, and promotes understanding of the optimum direction for Canberra into the future. It also seeks acceptance and adoption by everyone involved in its creation.

Regional Development Australia Committees will play an increasingly important role in promoting regional development and regional liveability across Australia over the coming years.

There are a plethora of plans and strategies already in existence for the ACT and for Canberra. What makes this plan significant, and different, is that it it takes into account the impact of the ACT on the surrounding region of NSW and, just as importantly, the impact of the surrounding region on Canberra. It also starts to position the ACT, and Canberra specifically, as a significant regional city within the Australian context. Already Canberra is the most populous inland city in Australia, and frequently one of the fastest growing. In many contexts however, the ACT is examined and dealt with in isolation from the surrounding region that sits geopolitically within south-east NSW. The Australian Government is currently giving high priority and providing funding to support regional Australia, with unparalleled opportunities to promote the notion of Canberra as Australia’s premier regional city, and as a viable alternative city that is attractive to people, their families and their businesses. Regional Development Australia Committees will play an increasingly important role in promoting regional development and regional liveability across Australia over the coming years.

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ACT Strategic Regional Plan 2011-12

The Three Dimensions of Canberra

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The Three Dimensions of Canberra
The Canberra of today is a vibrant, prosperous, aspirational and well-educated smart city, a city of significance, with three distinct, yet overlapping and interdependent roles. Canberra is: 1. The Capital of the ACT – a city of people, home to some 360,00 residents who live, work and play here, and a substantial city in its own right after nearly 100 years of existence and 22 years of ACT self government; 2. The National Capital – the seat of national parliament, and home to many federal government agencies, to Australia’s major judicial, cultural, scientific, education and military institutions, and to the legations and diplomatic residences of foreign governments; and 3. The hub of the south-east NSW region – a major centre for residents of the surrounding towns and districts of southeast NSW who access its centralised facilities (retail, cultural), services (health, education), and employment opportunities. Understanding the identity and many roles of Canberra is important. Canberra’s unique characteristics and diverse roles as a city of people, the nation’s capital, and its relevance as the hub of a vibrant region contextualises its relationships with its surrounding region and the nation.

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ACT Strategic Regional Plan 2011-12

The Three Dimensions of Canberra
1. The Capital of the ACT
Canberra - a unique city
Canberra is unique in so many ways, and this is relevant when understanding the city as it is today, and planning for its future. In addition to its unique role as the nation’s capital, Canberra is also unique in that: • it is a planned city - created and planned to fit into its bushland setting, and designed for its purpose as the nation’s capital to be the ideal city of the future; • it is effectively a ‘city state’ whereby the ACT Government performs both state/territory and local government functions; while also noting that the ACT land is managed by two governments - the ACT and federal; and • Canberra residents enjoy a high standard of living, high levels of employment, and access to a high standard of services. Canberrans have a higher education level, income level and life expectancy than the national average. The lifestyle in Canberra is unlike that experienced in any other Australian city.

The Three Dimensions

Image of Canberra
Those who live in Canberra are aware of its: • natural beauty; • unique, attractively planned design; • quality of health and education services; • liveability – with relatively little traffic congestion or pollution; • great employment opportunities; • abundance of green space; and • many cultural, retail, sporting and recreational attractions. A strong message received through the Leaders’ Forum is that Canberra needs to define its identity as a confident and proud city, and to project this image to facilitate recognition as a contemporary example of a successful city.

Canberra CBD

While residents of Canberra appreciate its many qualities, there remains the constant challenge to educate people outside Canberra to appreciate it as the nation’s capital - as their nation’s capital. The presentation of political news so it is perceived by the rest of Australia to be coming from ‘Canberra’ needs to be countered - too often Canberra is used as a negative term in place of the Australian Government; preferred would be, for example, ‘from Capital Hill’.

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The Live in Canberra program, delivered by the ACT Government in partnership with industry, promotes Canberra as a liveable city, a place of unequalled lifestyle, and of quality employment opportunities, and there is potential to expand this successful program. The Canberra Centenary celebrations to be held in 2013 present a unique opportunity to promote Canberra to the rest of the nation. Australian Government support for these celebrations is essential to ensure a broad reaching program of events celebrating 100 years of the Australian Capital City.

Canberra’s distinctive advantages
Andrew Leigh MP, Federal Member for Fraser, describes Canberra (though he is not a native Canberran), as, ‘the best city in Australia’. He said at the 2011 Leaders’ Forum, “We need to be very proud of our city; everything is not perfect, but it is special.” He advocates positioning Canberra to be a leader, and defining a clear vision of what it is we want the city to be by asking the question - what makes Canberra different?, and from that basis, forming a cohesive planning approach for the future.

“We need to be very proud of our city; everything is not perfect, but it is special.”
Andrew Leigh MP, Federal Member for Fraser

Like other cities, Canberra needs to play to its strengths and build on its points of difference. Canberra does have many distinctive advantages. How can we best harness the assets and attributes of the ACT to benefit the ACT and region? As the nation’s capital, Canberra is home to the Australian Government and its Parliament. Canberra also offers a wide range of stimulating employment opportunities, particularly in the knowledge and service industries, with the need for skills identified as crucial for growing the economy. It is unlike other parts of Australia in this respect, particularly when compared with its surrounding region and other Australian regions, where investment in job creation remains the primary focus for development. Canberra has the highest education level in Australia, and a strong education sector that provides life-long learning opportunities. It has high levels of school participation, retention and performance, strength in trade and vocational training at the Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT), four university campuses - including the internationally recognised Australian National University, plus high quality research facilities such as CSIRO and NICTA, and premier sports science and medical research institutions. Many international students - graduate and postgraduate, come to Canberra to study, and education exports can be grown to make an even greater sustainable contribution to Canberra’s economy. Canberra is also home to the Australian Institute of Sport and the Royal Military College, Duntroon. Canberra has a unique asset in its cultural and collecting institutions, and with 200 cultures/ diplomatic missions represented, has an extraordinarily good reputation for tolerance and multiculturalism. It is also the repository of much of the nation’s history and art including the National Gallery, National Library, National Museum and the National Science and Technology Museum.

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ACT Strategic Regional Plan 2011-12

Canberra is also an exemplar of lifestyle – clean air and green spaces in a bushland setting, with residents having good levels of health. The nature of the urban design of Canberra also optimises the promotion of health opportunities for its residents. It has strong social capital and social connectedness – Canberrans are more likely to volunteer, play an organised sport, and be part of a community group. Effective utilisation of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) is the single most important facilitator of economic development and is a significant strength of Canberra. It is an enabling capability, and is at the heart of many of Canberra’s opportunities e.g. the defence and security industries. Canberra also has the best potential to leverage National Broadband Network (NBN) benefits, to optimise its use, and to explore its potential.

The Three Dimensions

Canberra planning
• A dichotomy of planning priorities An international design competition led to the creation of the planned city - Canberra, designed for its purpose to be the nation’s capital, an ideal city of the future. Since the introduction of self-government to the ACT in 1988, two governments have shared responsibility for the further development of Canberra – the ACT and Australian governments. The ACT Government is responsible for managing the affairs of the Territory on a parliamentary, legislative, administrative and financial basis that is comparable with the state governments. However, the ACT Government also manages the municipal functions that are usually performed by local governments; thus Canberra’s unique ‘city state’ role.

Walter Burley Griffin’s Plan of Canberra – as finally accepted, 1913

Canberra’s planning responsibility lies with the ACT Planning and Land Authority (ACTPLA), which now sits within the Environment and Sustainable Development Directorate. However, the planning responsibility for Canberra’s nationally significant spaces lies with the Australian Government’s National Capital Authority (NCA). This shared responsibility contributes to a dichotomy of planning and governance structures, which adds to Canberra’s confused identity and functionality as a city. A reiterated message from the Leaders’ Forum is the need for an improved governance framework between the ACT and Australian Government planning bodies; to facilitate an improved ACTPLA and NCA planning framework with more integration and interaction, and a clear delineation of roles and responsibilities between the planning bodies to achieve better planning outcomes.

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City planning for the future

Canberra’s current planning strategy is premised on the ACT having a population of 500,000 people by 2032, increasing to 50% the accommodation of Canberra’s growth within a 7.5 km radius of the city, and focussing on the need to increase the proportion of non-car based transport movement. ACTPLA recognises that Canberra faces the many planning stresses that all cities in Australia face including climate change, peak oil, population growth, demographic changes and affordable housing infill. An additional challenge for the ACT is the supply of easily developable land. Important messages in relation to ACT planning were received from the community through the Time to Talk Canberra 2030 consultation process run in 2010, including to: • retain Canberra’s identity as the bush capital; • lower carbon emissions; • create a more compact city; • provide more choice in housing, including infill where appropriate; • build a sustainable long-term economy not only as a national capital but as a regional hub; and • to build leadership and collaborative partnerships between government, business, organisations and the community.

A traditional family home – high density living

These are the challenges that Canberra will need to confront in coming decades. They require a fundamental shift in human behaviour, cultural attitudes and economic structures, as well as the development of plans to implement them. The immediate task is to continue to build consensus within the community – a mandate for change. Consultation and evidence suggests that we should capitalise on the existing structure of the city – increase density (urban consolidation), disperse employment, contain growth, and capitalise on town centre structures with increased density and improved employment opportunities. Population growth and demographic changes mean we need to provide lifestyle choices - in housing and transport, improved access to services, and physical infrastructure. Geopolitical borders do not work in planning - it’s often best to take a regional perspective that can offer strong leadership and collaborative partnerships, with government agencies working closely together with outside stakeholders.

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Engaging the community

To be effective, drivers for change need to be community-based. Canberra’s unique demographic profile, with its highly educated and relatively affluent population, should facilitate a consensus for change rather than providing a blocking mechanism. An important message identified from the Leaders’ Forum is the need to engage and consult with the broader community early in the planning process, to seek community acceptance well before the practical implementation phase, and to be aware that a variety of stakeholders with differing interests will be engaged at each of the development stages. The challenge remains the conversion of ideals and theories into practical outcomes. For example, the majority of residents supported - during the Time to Talk 2030 consultations, the densification and urban infill along transport corridors and around town centres. However, that level of support dropped dramatically when applied directly within peoples’ own neighbourhoods. The Time to Talk 2030 engagement process used a wide variety of engagement methods – an interactive website (visited by 20,000+, with 34,000 opinions and comments posted), an on-line survey and telephone survey (2,500 participated), community workshops, focus groups, an expert forum, and reply paid postcards (520 people engaged) in an attempt to reach as broad a demographic profile as possible. It reached many in the community who often don’t have a say - including those Time to talk 2030 logo who would never attend a community meeting, or indeed write letters to the editor or to their local member. On-line engagement has increased the ACT Government’s reach significantly and has diversified the range of opinions voiced. This strategy should be continued to ensure a broad voice of representation. The NCA has been trialling on-line engagement including a community engagement website which has increased the NCA reach 20-50 fold. Willingness by governments to engage with the community requires courage, confidence and sound judgment. Dedication to accountability and transparency must be the universal cultural qualities to win community trust. • Shaping the way forward

The Three Dimensions

The current planning policy of the ACT Government is encapsulated in the key policy documents: The Canberra Plan, the Canberra Spatial Plan, Weathering the Change - ACT Climate Change Strategy and the Sustainable Transport Plan. These key documents are currently under review, with an ACT Planning Strategy, the ACT Climate Change Strategy Action Plan 2, and a Clean Economy Strategy due for release this year or early 2012.

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In a Statement of Government Priorities for 2011-126, presented to the ACT Legislative Assembly in June 2011, Chief Minister Katy Gallagher MLA outlined government priorities for 2011-12, with 52 key projects identified. These will ensure that Canberra progresses as a liveable, sustainable city, and that: • its people enjoy timely access to healthcare; • there is help for those most in need; • there are housing options for all Canberrans; • Canberra people have skills for life and for our economy; • we have a robust local economy and a balanced tax system; • there is improved access to and use of public transport; and • continued improvement in public safety. Alongside these priorities, the ACT Government has undertaken to continue to provide: • a world class health system; • a public education system that delivers outstanding results; • support for a strong and dynamic economy; • ever more reliable and effective municipal services that will preserve our precious natural environment and continue to divert more of our waste stream from landfill; and • sustainable services and programs that make the ACT such a great place to live, work, study and invest. • ACT planning strategy

Since 2004, the Canberra Spatial Plan has been the ACT’s key strategic planning document, designed to ‘provide clear strategic directions for the development of Canberra over the next 30 years and beyond.’ The Spatial Plan manages the ACT’s urban growth and development issues that have geographical or spatial dimensions. Its aim is to reflect the values and aspirations of the community, guide the use of resources and need for infrastructure, and to inform both the National Capital Plan (NCA) and the Territory Plan (ACTPLA). The Spatial Plan addresses the ACT’s key urban development issues, and describes a strategic direction to tackle issues that have geographical or spatial dimensions. It directs and manages urban growth, with the flexibility required to respond to change. As of July 2011, the ACT Planning and Land Authority was incorporated within the new ACT Government’s Environment and Sustainable Development Directorate. This Directorate will take over the task of revising The Spatial Plan, with the result – a draft ACT Planning Strategy to promote an urban form that will help the ACT Government to deliver on its target of zero carbon emissions by 2060, and a renewed sustainable transport plan - Transport for Canberra.

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The Legislative Assembly for the Australian Capital Territory - Statement of Government Priorities for 2011-12 - Ministerial Statement, presented by Ms Katy Gallagher MLA, Chief Minister, 21 June 2011.

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2.

The Nation’s Capital – its roles and responsibilities

On 1 January 1901, the six Australian colonies federated – the Commonwealth of Australia was born and needed a capital city – and so the Australian Capital Territory was created. As the nation’s capital, the city of Canberra is home to Australia’s principal government, judicial, cultural, scientific, education and military institutions, it accommodates the legations and diplomatic residences of foreign governments, and is home to a large number of national institutions and organisations. At the time of self-government (1988), the Australian Government retained governance over some of the land within the ACT – the ‘national land’, which includes the Parliamentary Triangle, Lake Burley Griffin and the airport.

The Three Dimensions

Since that time, Canberra’s roles - as a city in its own right and as the national capital, became more disparate as planning and governance over different parts of the Territory were undertaken by two distinct bodies – the National Capital Authority (NCA) overseen by the Australian Government, and the ACT Planning and Land Authority (ACTPLA) by the newly formed ACT Government. A strong message to emerge from stakeholder engagement, including through the Leaders’ Forum, is that the NCA needs to be adequately resourced to fulfill its role; that the Australian Government cannot walk away from its responsibilities towards the national capital and infrastructure of national significance. The ACT, with a population of 360,000, cannot be expected to plan and maintain the national capital on behalf of 22 million Australians. The Parliamentary Triangle contains many of the national iconic institutions that belong to the nation, and this area requires the support of an adequately resourced NCA that is capable of taking responsibility for maintaining these nationally significant assets, and taking on the role of spreading the story of Canberra with stronger outreach to the rest of Australia and to the world.

Lake Burley Griffin

All Australians should have pride in their national capital and appreciate Canberra’s role as the centre of governance and culture for Australia - as Washington DC does for the USA. People who live outside Canberra should be encouraged to appreciate it as their nation’s capital as the epitome of ‘Australian’.

ACT Strategic Regional Plan 2011-12

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National Capital Authority
The National Capital Authority (NCA) is an independent statutory authority - managing approximately $800 m of assets with an annual operating budget of $15 m. Its responsibilities are to plan, enhance and maintain the nation’s capital, and foster awareness of its symbolic role. Canberra is home to the national capital, yet has also had 22 years of self-government, with self-government legislation that recognises the dual interests of Canberra as a city, and Canberra as a national capital. The continuing uncertainty about the federal government’s role in Canberra is disempowering the NCA as a regulator, and provides a complex and sometimes cumbersome operating framework that is not in the best interests of the city. The NCA is currently ‘under review’ with Dr Allan Hawke AC examining the plethora of previous reviews of the NCA. He will put forward a recommended policy position for Government – report scheduled to be presented in 2011, to which the Government will respond. The NCA’s own submission to this review noted that the NCA should: • develop a more detailed interest and have an increased regulatory role in the central city area in particular; • have a role in planning, asset management, project development, and educating the public on the significance of Canberra as the national capital; • take up opportunities to improve the governance and decision making frameworks within which the NCA operates, through re-balancing the split of responsibilities and improving the demarcation; and • represent the national interest while appreciating the interests of the Canberra community.
Chinese Embassy, Yarralumla

Parliament House

High Court, Parliamentary Triangle courtesy Andrew Sikorski

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3.

Canberra – the Regional Capital

A strong message to emerge from the Leaders’ Forum focused on the benefits associated with the creation of a regional identity for Canberra and the surrounding region of south-east NSW. RDAs are tasked with bringing together business stakeholders, governments and community organisations, to better understand and promote regional identities. RDA ACT, in conjunction with other RDAs - including RDA Southern Inland and RDA Far South Coast, has a key role as a facilitator of broader regional engagement across state and territory, local government and RDA boundaries. Geopolitical borders are often a hindrance to regional planning and regional development. Stakeholder input repeatedly places focus and priority on the need to think and operate as a holistic region, with Canberra as its hub – a place to concentrate the region’s services – health, education, employment, transport, retail and cultural. The synergies resulting from such a co-dependency would advantage both the ACT and the region, stimulating the development of the regional economy and improving the quality of life of all regional residents. This does not, however, lessen the value of distributed services where it is economically viable to do so, or indeed where it makes sense to do so. However, the provision of a wider range of services at a regional services’ hub ensures that regional residents are not disadvantaged by needing to travel further - such as to Sydney, to access these services.

The Three Dimensions

Narooma, south coast NSW

Thredbo snowfields courtesy Andrew Sikorski

Role as a regional leader
An important aspect of the ACT is its regional significance. While Canberra is a major regional centre for south-east NSW, providing a hub for the provision of an array of services including high-quality health and education, it is also a key source of regional employment, and provides regional residents with access to a major airport, and to cultural, recreation and retail amenities. Accepting its role as a regional centre is Canberra’s first step to better engaging as a regional leader and, given its distinctive and broad capability set, Canberra has the proven capacity to take on a regional leadership role.

ACT Strategic Regional Plan 2011-12

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Stakeholder messages suggest that the ACT, its people and its government should be more embracing of the regional concept and the significant benefits this thinking could bring in achieving mutually beneficial co-dependence. There appears to be a current shift in thinking by the ACT Government - moving away from its ‘old way’ of thinking that viewed regional communities as a ‘cost’ burden on the ACT, towards the more recent trend of viewing the region as having the potential to provide opportunities that bring benefits to the ACT. Ms Katy Gallagher, in her first public role as Chief Minister of the ACT, stated that the ACT Queanbeyan City Council Chambers should focus on a regional perspective, and work to enhance Canberra’s role in the region – both supporting and being supported by its diverse region. She stated that the ACT Government is keen to play a regional role, and supports RDA ACT’s Memorandum of Understanding with RDA Southern Inland. As Health Minister she has repeatedly noted the importance of the regional catchment to the ACT, in that it develops the ACT’s capacity to be able to support a more extensive array of services when it provides services to a regional population of 600,000 people, rather than just the city population of 360,000. The ACT Government also takes the view that key infrastructure developments within the ACT, for example the development of the Majura Parkway - a vital transport route linking the ACT and NSW, is an important regional project, with as much importance to the regional freight task as to the local ACT transport task. The Parkway’s regional and national relevance has recently been confirmed with partnership funding from the Australian Government.

Regional synergies
The ACT offers a high level of employment opportunities, due largely to the needs of Australian Government agencies for skilled workers. This is a significant point of difference: the focus in Canberra is on attracting skilled workers to supply the strong employment market, whereas in the surrounding region, the focus remains on creating employment opportunities. It is important to build and maintain relationships between the ACT and Capital Region (represented by RDA Southern Inland) for the benefit of all, though the relationships are not simple. There are several regional cities, e.g. Queanbeyan, Goulburn and Cooma, which have varying

The city of Yass courtesy of the Yass Valley Development Corporation

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dependencies and two-way relationships with the ACT. Clearly, the closer cities and towns are to the ACT the more impact the ACT has on that city or town, and the more benefit the ACT provides to and derives from residents of those areas. For example - Queanbeyan, a city of some 40,000 people located 20 minutes away, has the strongest two-way relationship with the ACT. Goulburn is further away and has greater access to Sydney and Wollongong, but Cooma, though a similar distance from Canberra, does not have the same access to an alternative major urban centre. More work needs to be undertaken to understand these interdependencies more fully. The surrounding towns, cities and rural residential subdivisions contribute to the ACT by housing a large number of the ACT workforce. Over 20,000 workers cross the border into the ACT from nearby local government areas every day, and some 4,000 workers leave Canberra each day to work in NSW. The education and health sectors have established co-relationships Visiting students shown the world class facilities at the Australian Institute of Sport with strong regional service delivery dimensions – the ACT provides the majority of the VET, university and private school education for the greater region i.e. some 5,000 students cross the border to study in the ACT daily. Public hospitals in Canberra service over 16,000 NSW residents annually, with patients from right across the southern half of NSW. Tourism also provides mutually beneficial regional outcomes. The ACT has many high profile tourist attractions that draw visitors from across the country and the world, while the snowfields, beaches and wineries of the surrounding region add significant value to the regional tourism offering.

The Three Dimensions

Best practice for working across jurisdictions
The complex array of regional relationships should not be competitive; rather they should focus on opportunities and synergies, aiming for a cohesive and unified region, with an inclusive relationship that is based on cooperation. The ACT, the surrounding local governments and the relevant NSW Government agencies, as well as other regional organisations, should all aim to work cooperatively, with mutual respect, and an aim to develop best-practice cross-jurisdictional relationships. Although benefit could be derived by more formally defining ‘the Capital Region’, difficulties arise because regions need to be defined differently depending on the issue being considered; for example, the health, education, natural resource management and economic catchments that would be included in a ‘Capital Region’ would each include differently defined areas.

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Working with regional groups
RDAs key role is to engage and consult with local region stakeholders and to build partnerships between them, and the RDA focus is to support regional development. In this context Canberra plays a crucial role, not only as a significant regional city in its own right, but as a regional hub within south-east NSW. RDA ACT works closely with other RDAs, particularly with RDA Southern Inland, to achieve the best outcomes for the region across the economic, environmental and social platforms. Work undertaken to date highlights the synergies and potential for projects to support these collaborative undertakings between the RDAs. RDA ACT is also building relationships with a variety of local regional organisations and bodies including the South East Australian Transport RDA ACT and surrounding south-east NSW RDAs Strategy (SEATS), the South East Regional Organisation of Councils (SEROC), and is currently working in conjunction with the Canberra Business Council (CBC) across a number of economic development areas, many of which have a significant regional perspective.

Working with the NSW Government and its agencies
There are a number of departments within the NSW Government working on regional development issues including the Department of Premier and Cabinet and the Department of Trade & Investment, Regional Infrastructure and Services. RDA ACT, in partnership with RDA SI and RDA FSC, are currently collaborating on issues and projects to advance the well-being of the region holistically, including the potential to develop a South East Region of Renewable Energy Excellence.

Working with Local Governments with a strong connection to Canberra
The ACT has a strong imperative to work closely with the local governments adjoining the ACT - from Yass Valley to the north, Palerang Shire to the east and Cooma-Monaro to the south, and of course with Queanbeyan which is in many ways closer to the CBD of Canberra than some of the city’s own Town Centres. Tumut to the west also abuts the ACT, but geography and the lack of a quality transport connection limits the socio-economic interactions.

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The Five Pillars of Development

ACT Strategic Regional Plan 2011-12

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The Five Pillars of Development
1. A Resilient and Diverse Economy 2. An Exemplar of Environmental Sustainability 3. Education and Opportunity 4. A Connected Canberra 5. Empowered Communities

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The Five Pillars of Development
1. A Resilient and Diverse Economy
Strategic Objective: To develop a strong, stable and growing ACT economy that provides meaningful employment and financial reward for all its residents. RDA ACT will support projects and activities that will … • Develop business opportunities, with a focus on those adopting a sustainable and regional approach; • Build on the existing ACT economic strengths in public service delivery, education services, and knowledge and wealth creation through research and development; • Increase the ACT’s national and global business competitiveness; and • Address the on-going need for skilled workers to address labour shortages and support a diversifying economy.

An historical reliance on the public sector
The ACT economy is distinguished by its reliance on Australian Government agencies, institutions and national organisations to provide employment – around half the ACT’s employment occurs within its public sector and this proportion has remained relatively consistent over the past 30 years. The ACT is also reliant on the Australian Government for funding to support services and infrastructure in its areas of national significance, and both these factors contribute to making the ACT economy overly sensitive to the impacts of Australian Government budgets. A dominant public sector provides the ACT with the capacity to provide stimulating, highly skilled and well-paid ‘white collar’ jobs. Its residents’ high levels of education and income also distinguish the ACT economy, and these attributes reflect the needs and productivity of the dominant public sector. The ACT economy is also atypical in that its economic trend usually runs counter to that of the national economy. This has become more apparent in recent decades when Australian Government policy has favoured increased Government spending and intervention in response to a slowdown in the private sector - both nationally and internationally. Increased spending in the public sector creates economic benefit for the ACT, creates public sector jobs, and this is further amplified through the local private sector.

The Five Pillars Economy

ACT Strategic Regional Plan 2011-12

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A private sector dominated by micro firms
Small and micro knowledge based firms - often having just one or two employees, dominate the private sector component of the ACT economy and provide a vast array of services to the public sector, and to larger multi-national corporations that in turn service the public sector. These small firms are flexible, adaptable to change, and often innovative. However they can often lack the capacity to tender for larger government work. Opportunities for clustering and horizontal value chains exist across the ACT knowledge-centric small and micro business sector. Many of the smallest (single employee) firms however might be better classified, not as businesses, but rather as sole traders/consultants who chose this flexible structure as an alternative to full time employment. While there are some 25,000 registered ABN holders in the ACT, a much smaller proportion of these could be considered ‘entrepreneurial’, or wealth generating. Canberra boasts a relatively large proportion of ICT skilled workers. This is in response to the information services needs of large national organisations, with nationally distributed workforces, servicing large clients such as Government agencies. The Canberra region can benefit from leveraging these technology-intensive skill sets, but transformation of individuals’ skill sets is also required. There is a considerable gap between the skills required to be a sole trader serving government, and the skills required to build an innovative and resilient entrepreneurial business. An effective strategy for developing potential business leaders and enabling effective business skills transfer based on real-world practical knowledge would enable growth in successful entrepreneurs. Some initiatives already exist, including CollabIT …

The CollabIT Cluster CollabIT is an ICT industry business development initiative supported by the Australian Information Industry Association, the ACT Government and by industry stakeholders. CollabIT links small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) with multinational companies (MNCs) in the ICT sector to help build networks and relationships aimed at: • generating new ideas and new ways of doing business; • identifying skills and business synergies; • sharing knowledge; • pooling resources to bid for ICT contracts that would otherwise be out of the reach of SMEs; and • expanding SME market reach and penetration in the international arena.

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In recent years the ACT economy has remained strong, and opportunities abound. This has created an atypical situation where the main focus of economic need in the ACT is for skilled workers to meet on-going and consistent skills shortages. There is less need to stimulate employment growth as there is elsewhere, as the ACT maintains the lowest unemployment rate in Australia7. The ACT private sector is dominated by service-based industries. Indeed there is no heavy industry in the ACT - a consequence of the decision to ‘create’ a capital city in a greenfields location, and its focus on government administration. Light industry is contained within three designated areas: Fyshwick, Hume and Mitchell. • Property and Construction

The major ‘blue-collar’ industry in the ACT is construction, stimulated by the demand for government office accommodation, and a continuing demand for residential premises for the growing workforce. The trend in recent years for increased diversity in housing - including medium, high density and city apartments - has provided much work for the construction industry, as has the recent imperative for government offices to be ‘Green Star rated’. Much of the material used in construction and a substantial proportion of the construction workforce is currently sourced from outside the ACT.

The Five Pillars

Residential construction in Gungahlin

A distinctive facet of the economy is the ACT Government’s reliance on income from the sale of land to provide a large proportion of its revenue base - larger than any other Australian jurisdiction. However, the sale of greenfields sites is not sustainable in the long term. Recent amendments to the Change of Use charge are one means of maximising government income from redevelopments, but this policy has the potential to impact on inner suburban renewal and infill. • Research and Education

Economy

The ACT is home to the Australian National University and the University of Canberra, which attract many local, interstate and international students. In addition it has campuses of the University of NSW (at ADFA) and the Australian Catholic University, which collectively house and educate a large number of undergraduates and postgraduates. Charles Sturt University also runs a small number of outreach services in Canberra. The ACT is also the location of several research divisions of CSIRO, a research laboratory of NICTA, and it has considerable research capability in a range of public sector agencies, including Defence. The research and education sectors are major employers in the ACT, and make up a significant component of the economy.
7 The ACT unemployment is currently at 4.0% in the ACT (up from 3.5% in the same quarter last year), with a participation rate of 73.3%; in the Illawarra and south-east NSW the unemployment rate is 4.7% (6.4% previously) with a 60.1% participation rate. NSW Quarterly Labour Market Report, June 2011, Australian Government – Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations.

ACT Strategic Regional Plan 2011-12

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Building the economy – future directions
The ACT has been fortunate in recent times that the economy has remained strong, businesses generally confident and that unemployment has stayed low. Over the ten years to June 2009, the ACT’s Gross State Product has increased 40%, slightly ahead of the strong national GDP growth of 36%. Within an internationally strong national economy, the ACT is a star performer. The challenge lies, not in supporting a flagging economy, but in providing structural direction to the economy which will allow it to prosper, grow and remain resilient in future periods of stress. There remains also a challenge to ensure that impediments to economic growth - such as labour shortages, or regulatory burdens, are minimised. Governments consistently claim they are creating a strong economic environment in which the private sector can thrive. This generally consists of policies to maintain a balanced government budget. However, governments are in a position to influence the course and direction of the private sector through a range of mechanisms and means.

The ACT Government’s role in the local economy
The ACT Government’s Economic Development Directorate (EDD) develops and supports business programs and economic development strategies across the areas of: Territory venues and events, tourism, sport and recreation, land development, strategy and finance, gambling and racing. The programs developed and implemented by this agency are generally well accepted and received by the private sector. EDD, through the Business and Industry Development (BID) Branch, supports programs that provide business advice (enterprise development with a micro-business focus), sector development, support for the commercialisation of local IP and for innovation, and the internationalisation of businesses largely through facilitating investment and supporting emerging exporters. It also provides business policy advice to the ACT Government and delivers the ACT Skilled and Business Migration Program8 - an important component of the response to skills and labour shortages. It now also supports the Live in Canberra program. • ACT Government funding and support

The ACT Government - through the Economic Development Directorate, Business and Industry Development Branch, supports a range of programs and activities to grow the private sector of the economy, which include: • Canberra Business Point, funded by the EDD and delivered by the Canberra Business Council, provides largely free advice for small businesses starting up e.g. developing a business and marketing case, providing advice, regulatory obligations, etc; • The Lighthouse Innovation Centre provides support and advice aimed at creative and technology focused businesses, and assists firms in their commercialisation endeavours; • Innovation Connect - a funding program aimed at supporting innovation and commercialisation; • A range of export initiatives including the Trade Connect funding support program for emerging exporters, the Exporters Network and the Trade Mission program;
8 http://www.business.act.gov.au/skilled_and_business_migration

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• Support for industry sectors e.g. the CollabIT ICT Cluster, ScreenACT Film, TV and Digital Media, E-Government Cluster; and • Support for investments in innovation, research and development including various joint programs with the ANU, UC, NICTA and CSIRO. The overarching focus is on innovation and internationalisation, and on adding value to existing small firms.

Growing strengths in export and ‘internationalisation’
Globally connected firms are more innovative, and more likely to succeed and grow. Exporting industries, while accepting the risk of becoming ‘trade exposed’, add significant value to a regional economy by bringing ‘new money’ into that economy. The highest value businesses in any economy are those that import new business and cash flow rather than merely recirculating existing funds. In this context, the ACT Government supports mechanisms and programs around internationalisation, export and innovation, which is an appropriate form of government intervention and assistance in a knowledge and service based economy. Within the ACT economy the tertiary education sector is a major exporter of education services, being Canberra’s second largest export earner, after government services. These educational institutions are also substantial businesses in their own right – they develop significant infrastructure, attract overseas students to spend in the local economy, employ staff, purchase goods and services, and strengthen civil society through social and cultural impacts.

The Five Pillars

Building the ACT’s global competitiveness
Whilst the ACT economy remains strong, and dominated by services and knowledge industries, there is potential to grow these existing successful sectors. Canberra already has a strong international reputation as a centre for government excellence, and a growing reputation for education excellence. However, opportunities to expand this excellence into other sectors need to be pursued to help diversify the economy in areas of relative strength. The education industry is already internationally competitive. However a constraint on growth remains around the provision of reasonably priced student accommodation. The array of changes underway in Australia’s university and VET sectors provides greater opportunity for entrepreneurial education providers and local and state/territory governments. The ACT is well positioned to grow this sector given the already strong positions of the ANU, UC and CIT in supporting international students. The recommendation by Professor Denise Bradley is that a structurally combined, dual sector university incorporating both the CIT and UC would add value to the local education sector. The ICT sector locally is dominated by small and micro firms, working on government contracts, often through multi-national firms as intermediaries. The majority of the multi-national ICT firms located in the ACT maintain a limited local presence - often just sales, marketing and project management, with large research and development operations in other Australian capital cities.

Economy

ACT Strategic Regional Plan 2011-12

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The creative industries sector in the ACT has performed well internationally considering its size. Canberra firms are well represented internationally in the games development sector, and there is an array of opportunities to further develop and grow this sector in conjunction with the creative industries, the ICT sector and the education and training sector.

Commercialisation and Knowledge Transfer
The ACT is highly rated as a knowledge economy on many levels, and there is a constant array of new knowledge created in the work undertaken in both the public and private sectors. The knowledge created however, needs to then be applied - wealth is created through economic development that has been stimulated through applying knowledge. Canberra is very good at knowledge creation and benefits by having 10% of Australia’s publicly funded research occurring in its local institutions and public sector agencies. Knowledge is created principally from research but also through practice, where knowledge is built through the process of application i.e. in capturing and developing innovations that occur in the workspace. The ACT’s record of research and development at the firm level (as measured by the ABS) however, is amongst Australia’s lowest. Traditionally, we have thought of knowledge transfer as being undertaken through the commercialisation of R&D, but knowledge is also transferred when students move into employment or set up their own businesses. Already much of the R&D undertaken in the ACT is commercialised elsewhere. The largest and most globally prominent ANU research group in the John Curtin Medical School continues to make groundbreaking discoveries that go offshore to be commercialised by multi-national pharmaceutical companies. While neither the ACT, nor indeed Australia, may have the capacity to commercialise many of these medical discoveries, there are a raft of other discoveries made within the local institutions that need to be encouraged at every stage, and where it makes sense, to be commercialised locally. There is also opportunity to better link the ACT’s private sector with its public sector research capacity, and this needs to be supported by the ACT Government.

The ACT Government has a great opportunity to act to develop a modern, dual sector university strategically aligned to the new realities of a world where the skills of its people are the true wealth of the nation … Across the country other communities and their governments are reorganizing their policy settings, programs and institutional frameworks to improve their position on these indicators and better align their community’s skill profile to the prosperous future they plan.9

There is a wealth of clever ideas emanating from ACT tertiary and research institutions. The challenge is to ensure on-going financial benefits remain in Canberra to help add value to the economy and create highly desirable jobs.9
9 Report on Options for Future Collaborations of Canberra Institute of Technology and University of Canberra, Emeritus Professor Denise Bradley ACT, commissioned by the ACT Government, July 2011

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Tourism
The ACT contains a plethora of tourism assets, providing continuing scope to maximise the potential value of leisure tourism to the economy. It is not only a naturally beautiful and uniquely planned, multicultural and vibrant city, it is also the national capital - site of Australia’s principal governmental, judicial, cultural, scientific, educational and military institutions, and home to many icons of national significance. The ACT also provides a gateway to the surrounding region’s gourmet food and cold climate wines, historic towns, natural wonders, beautiful coastlines and the Snowy Mountains. It has a developing role as a centre of regional excellence in education and research, and in renewable energy – with exemplars of the various forms of renewable energy production on show throughout the region.

National Capital Education Tourism Project

Responsibility for tourism cuts across three areas. The ACT Government has a significant tourism attraction function, though many of the attractions are national icons located within the Australian Government areas of the Parliamentary Triangle. The Australian Government’s role in tourism attraction for the ACT has diminished in recent years in line with a shrinking NCA budget. The ACT also partners with the NSW Government to promote the Capital Country Tourism Region. One of the major impediments to the growth of the tourism industry in the ACT (and region) is the lack of a fully functioning international airport. International leisure and business tourists must first land in Sydney or Melbourne so that visiting Canberra then becomes a ‘side trip’. To ensure growth in the tourism industry the ACT needs a fully functioning international airport. • Business tourism

The Five Pillars

The conventions and business meeting industry is significant and important to the ACT and its economy. The ACT Government continues to support the Canberra Convention Bureau, the major driver to attract conferences and events to Canberra - the most natural place in Australia to host important meetings. The Canberra Business Council has been vocal in its support for a new and improved meeting place, an ‘Australia Forum’, to replace the small and outdated National Convention Centre. Improved conference facilities would undoubtedly add value to the industry locally. • Educational tourism

Economy

Currently, 160,000 children visit Canberra each year, largely as a result of its role as the nation’s capital. This gives them an appreciation for Canberra at an early age, which they share with their families, and leads to a reasonably high rate of return to the city. To develop this industry further, and to remove a major growth constraint, more low cost short-term accommodation needs to be provided within the city. A review of the impact of the National Capital Educational Tourism Project estimates its worth to the ACT economy to be $100m per annum.

ACT Strategic Regional Plan 2011-12

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Addressing the skills shortages
A major, and recognised impediment to the growth of the ACT economy is its need for improved access to labour and skilled workers. Although the ACT Government identified this to be an issue several years ago and implemented a raft of measures aimed at easing the pressures, skills and labour shortages remain. An additional challenge for the private sector in the ACT is competing with the generous salaries and conditions offered by the public sector. This matter alone is a significant barrier to attracting external businesses to Canberra. The focus therefore needs to be on attracting high value private sector operators that already have highly skilled and knowledgeable staff. In the 21st century, a workforce - across both the public and private sectors, needs access to lifelong learning, education and training to maintain knowledge and relevant skills and to provide the expertise for businesses to remain competitive. Importing skills through such programs as skilled migration is helpful in providing short-term relief to labour and skill shortages, but does not provide a complete solution. Further strategies need to be implemented to retrain and develop existing workforce members to provide them with the new capabilities that are required in a contemporary workforce. A strong message from the Leaders’ Forum was the need to devise strategies to retain babyboomers in the workforce to help overcome skills shortages. The ACT already has a high level of participation in the workforce, and a high level of female participation (both higher than the national averages).

Intergenerational Report 201010 The best way to respond to the economic and fiscal pressures of an ageing population is to support strong, sustainable economic growth. Economic growth will be supported by sound policies that support productivity, participation and population — the ‘3Ps’. Productivity is the key to higher economic growth in the face of an ageing population. Policies that support higher productivity, including investments in nation building infrastructure and skills and education, will raise economic growth, improve living standards and enhance Australia’s capacity to fund the fiscal pressures of an ageing population. While aggregate participation rates will fall as a result of an ageing population, steps to improve participation would minimise the impacts. Australia’s population will continue to grow, though at slightly slower rates than experienced over the past 40 years. A growing population assists in managing the pressures of an ageing population and provides the skills needed for continued economic growth. However, population growth will also put additional pressure on infrastructure, services and the environment. Projected population growth is manageable, if governments plan for future needs.

10 Intergenerational Report, Australian Government, 2010: http://www.treasury.gov.au/igr/

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Regional skills coordination
Much of the surrounding region of the ACT - excluding those towns in the local government areas immediately adjacent to the ACT, suffer from higher levels of unemployment than the ACT. Their local governments and regional organisations – including the RDA Southern Inland, continue to examine job creation strategies to help alleviate some of this unemployment. Linking the regional skills capability with the skills needs of the ACT may assist in solving two problems with one program of activity. This is a potentially good project that would require further investigation before implementation.

Building regional business opportunities

Murrumbateman Winery

The Five Pillars

Canberra’s role as the regional hub means that there is a lot of cross-border movement, with some 20,000 workers commuting into the city to work each day. Many of Canberra’s retirees choose to relocate to the coast, but continue to access ACT amenities. The regional economy transcends geographic boundaries – with information sharing, physical location becomes less important. Indeed many of Canberra’s most innovative and global businesses started in Queanbeyan e.g. Electro Optic Systems. A significant opportunity exists for the region to operate as a united whole, focusing on synergies rather than being competitive, and building links with a particular focus on strengthening the sectors that are already strong or that show potential such as the education and renewable energy sectors. The potential to build regional business clusters has been identified as an opportunity for boosting ACT and region economies. The ACT Government is to be praised for allowing its business and industry development programs to be accessible to businesses from the surrounding regions of NSW. Intrinsic to this is the realisation that developing successful enterprises within the region will create and promote new economic and employment activity, and that it matters little whether the business is located in Canberra or in its region. Additionally, the two major business representative groups in the ACT - the Canberra Business Council and the ACT and Region Chamber of Commerce, both have a regional imperative and indeed membership, though both spend the vast majority of their time and efforts focusing on business needs within the ACT.

Economy

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A Clean Economy aspiration
ACT businesses will be affected by the clean economy strategies currently being developed by both the ACT and federal governments; for example, strategies responding to climate change. Emerging policies include the carbon pricing mechanism being developed by the Australian Government, and the ACT’s plans to meet their ambitious greenhouse gas reduction targets to be outlined in Action Plan 2 of the ACT Climate Change Strategy. The overall result will be the creation of a new operating environment that puts a higher value on the environmental impact and sustainability of the economy. This will create a raft of opportunities, as well as operational challenges for the business community. Progressive cities around the world are already well established in taking advantage of this new operating environment.

The ACT’s first registered electric car with owner, Haydn Lowe, Wollomi

Capital Wind Farm, Lake George NSW

ActewAGL’s CNG station, Fyshwick

Canberra also needs to take advantage of opportunities to grow its clean, green tech knowledge and service industries, particularly the strong expertise it has through its education and research institutes in renewable energy technologies, and the opportunities provided by its knowledge and service industries in the area of clean, green skills development and training.

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2.

An Exemplar of Environmental Sustainability
Strategic Objective: To generate prominence for the ACT in the innovative creation of sustainable communities.

RDA ACT will support projects and activities that will ... • Assist the ACT Government to achieve its greenhouse gas emission reduction targets and achieve carbon neutrality by 2060; • Create ecologically sustainable development in the built and natural environments by promoting energy efficiency measures and the uptake of renewable energy; • Facilitate the creation of more low carbon jobs, research and training opportunities; and • Protect and leverage the natural assets of the ACT and region – its biodiversity, soils, landscapes, water and air quality.

ACT Government’s ambitious GHG emission targets
The ACT Government has undertaken to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions – reducing levels by 40% by 2020, and 80% by 2050 - based on 1990 levels (peaking in 2013). These targets the most ambitious emission targets in Australia, were tabled in the Climate Change and Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act 201011, and legislate for incremental milestones that culminate in the Government’s commitment to make Canberra carbon neutral by 2060. To achieve this will mean reducing emissions to every extent possible – adopting energy efficiency measures and sourcing renewable energy, and offsetting residual emissions by investing in carbon offset projects – such as planting trees.

The ACT Government has undertaken to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions – reducing levels by 40% by 2020, and 80% by 2050 based on 1990 levels (peaking in 2013).

The Five Pillars

ACT residents have a relatively large ecological footprint12, and it’s growing - it currently requires 9.2 global hectares to provide the resources required and deal with the wastes of each ACT resident. This is three and a half times higher than the world average, and 13% higher than the Australian average. It is also interesting to note that most of the ACT’s ecological footprint is located in other parts of the world – where the wide range of goods and services consumed by ACT residents are sourced. The catalyst for these unsustainable consumption levels is the relative affluence of Canberra residents. With more income, increased consumption can be afforded, and it is. However precedents in Switzerland and France illustrate that economic development can progress in conjunction with a reduction in ecological footprint13. An on-going Inquiry into the Ecological Carrying Capacity of the ACT and Region will determine the resources available to the ACT in terms of water, energy and food, the current level of resources used by ACT residents, and identifying sustainable resource use.
11 www.legislation.act.gov.au/a/2010-41/default.asp 12 The 2009-09 Ecological Footprint of the Population of the ACT, Integrated Sustainability Analysis, The University of Sydney; a report on consultancy work carried out for the Office of the Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment, December 2010. 13 Ecological Footprint for the ACT: Our Challenge, Office of the Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment, December 2010.

Environment

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Strategies for meeting the GHG emission targets have been outlined in Weathering the Change - the ACT Climate Change Strategy 2007-2025. Action Plans form part of the Strategy, which are designed to be updated every few years to allow it to remain responsive to new knowledge and technology. Action Plan 2 2012-2016 is currently being formulated, building on Action Plan 1 2007-2011 which listed 43 action items to meet four key objectives: • Being smarter in the use of resources; • Designing and planning Canberra to be more sustainable, • Adapting to current and future climate change, and • Improving our understanding of climate change. In addition to the ACT Climate Change Strategy, other watershed documents in the area of ACT environmental sustainability include the ACT Sustainable Energy Policy 2010-2020 and the ACT Clean Economy Strategy; and from a regional perspective, the ACT State of the Environment Report, with the 2011 report currently in progress. The Office of the Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment (OCSE) has identified the need for collaborative work that focuses on stimulating behavioural change to encourage take-up of ecologically sustainable development measures through community education that would facilitate energy efficiency and renewable energy uptake. The ACT Zero Net Emissions Initiatives: Gap Analysis and Opportunity Identification14 suggests there is an opportunity to leverage ACT leadership in emission abatement – the ACT is large enough to support experimentation of mitigation measures, yet small enough to enable critical community engagement. It also notes that ACT policy has established local responsibility for energy supplied from outside the ACT’s borders.

The natural environment
Canberra is renowned for its location within a bushland setting - situated in the lee of the Brindabella Ranges, on the broad flood plain of the Molonglo River, and within the upper Murrumbidgee River Catchment of the Murray-Darling Basin. This environment provides a constant reminder of the city’s natural heritage. Canberra is also renowned as a planned city, incorporating an abundance of green space into its urban design. As little as 13% of the ACT is ‘urban’ and of this, some 20% is open space. Over half of ACT land is nature reserves - including the Namadgi and Tidbinbilla National Parks. However, natural ecosystems do not align with boundary lines on a map. From a natural resource management perspective, a broader context needs to be considered. For example, Lake Burley Griffin is connected to other natural assets located around the catchment, requiring a need to holistically improve water quality throughout the Molonglo catchment. This in turn will have the additional benefit of slowing the rate of decline in the natural ecosystems around the Lake such as the Yarramundi Grasslands. The effects of climate change include the potential for negative impacts on the biological diversity of the ACT. Rising temperatures are predicted to cause higher evaporation, and reduced rainfall means less water is available to the natural environment; concomitant is a
14 Consultancy by Heuris, commissioned by the ACT Government, May 2010.

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decrease in water quality, an extended bushfire season and increased prevalence of drought conditions. The ACT has functioned under harsh drought conditions over the past decade, while also recovering from the severe 2003 bushfires. The impact of the drought on top of the catchment area bushfire meant that water supplies in that ACT dams took far longer to replenish and repurify.

Natural Resource Management
Having recently suffered through severe drought, water has become an increasingly important resource for the ACT, and one that reflects its sustainability and capacity for growth. The release of the Murray Darling Basin Plan will determine the ACT’s water allocation from this river source. The Draft Guide provisions would have resulted in reductions of up to 45% of the current allowable extractions for the ACT, thereby inhibiting future growth. This is inconsistent with the fact that the ACT’s water produces higher economic values than other water uses in the Basin - some $2000-$8000 per ML compared with $780 per ML for the Basin as a whole i.e. urban water values are higher than rural values in many circumstances.15 The ACT Government has made strong representations to the Murray Darling Basin Authority and the Australian Government arguing a case for reductions in water usage targets that will not hamper Canberra’s future growth. In response to water supply issues over the previous decade, the ACT has two new major water projects currently in progress – the Murrumbidgee to Googong pipeline that will transfer water between the Murrumbidgee River at Angle Crossing and into the Googong Dam, and the major expansion of capacity of the Cotter Dam. The long-term plan for managing and improving the ACT’s natural resources to support a healthy and viable ACT community – Bush Capital Legacy – iconic city, iconic natural assets16, draws together the threads of community, biodiversity, soils and water to measure human impacts on the environment, and their sustainability. It provides targets for repairing and maintaining the ACT landscape to reduce the ACT’s ecological footprint, as well as improving the condition of our catchments, rivers and wetlands.

The Five Pillars Environment
ACTEW’s Murrumbidgee to Googong water pipeline

15 Cost to the ACT of proposed SDLs – the value of water in the ACT, commissioned by the ACT Government, produced by the Centre for International Economics, December 2010. 16 Bush Capital Legacy – iconic city, iconic natural assets – Plan for managing the natural resources of the ACT, ACT Natural Resource management Council, 2009.

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A sustainable built environment
Energy use in the ACT is the greatest contributor to the level of the ACT’s GHG emissions and its ecological footprint, and some 72% of that carbon output is generated from stationary energy - that is energy used to light and to heat and cool buildings. This is unsurprising given Canberra’s predominant white-collar industries of government, defence, and business and professional services. The other major contributor – around 22%, is generated by transport - getting the workforce to and from their offices.

O’Connor Uniting Church

Addressing stationary energy usage and replacing coal-fired energy sources with renewable energy sources will go a long way towards meeting the ambitious GHG reduction targets set by the ACT Government. • Commercial Canberra has a significant advantage over other cities of Australia being relatively young, unblemished by large tracts of heavy industrial or brownfields redevelopments. Also, the Australian Government is a major occupier of Canberra’s commercial premises, with high environmental standards set for the buildings they occupy. The ACT Government has plans to construct a purpose built ACT Government office block to decrease the government’s impact on the environment. “Of all the states, the ACT has the highest investment in sustainable construction per capita.”- BCI Australia, October 2010. ‘Canberra already has five times the commercial floor space per head of population that is certified as Green Star than any other Australian jurisdiction’ - Romily Madew, CURF Seminar, May 2011. • Residential

The ACT Government has committed to increasing development within a 7.5 km radius of the city centre, and by doing so, increasing the density of residential areas primarily around town centres, group centres, and along transport corridors. This policy direction taken by the ACT Government, with the support of significant resident feedback through the Time to Talk 2030 process, provides a solid base upon which to achieve and maintain a lower ecological footprint per resident. Increasing population density, decreasing average house sizes, and decreasing transport distances are all effective mechanisms in reducing the carbon footprint.

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Renewable energy
The single most efficient way to reduce the ACT’s carbon footprint is to lower GHG emissions, and an effective way to achieve this in the ACT is to offset emissions through increasing the uptake of renewable energy. Additionally, increasing energy efficiency in Canberra homes and businesses, and increasing awareness of energy savings measures, also contribute to lowering energy use. Amongst the ACT and region’s natural assets is that it is highly suitable for wind energy generation, and has solar energy and geothermal capacity. Another important attribute is that it also has its population close to power sources. The region provides opportunities to harvest renewable energy through wind, solar, thermal, geothermal, hydro, methane capture and biofuels. There may also be potential to generate more renewable energy than is required so renewable energy becomes a regional export that brings economic benefit to the region. Generation of renewable energy is best developed on a regional scale, rather than just within a city or local government area. Early discussions with RDA SI, RDA FSC and the ACT and NSW Governments, are exploring the potential to establish a South East Region of Renewable Energy Excellence. Promotion of the ACT and region as a centre of excellence in renewable energy would enhance the work of the NSW Renewable Energy Precincts currently operating in the region surrounding the ACT, and Queanbeyan Solar Farm potentially provide the ACT with an - courtesy of Essential Energy enhanced role in training and research. Organising public access to renewable energy sources could also promote regional tourism, and the take-up of renewable energy would be encouraged through the increased community understanding and engagement that would be an outcome of such a project. Developing a sound understanding of the importance of using less energy and adopting sustainability measures will lead to behavioural change. Measures to help achieve this outcome could include increasing incentives for renewable energy generation, and raising community awareness and engagement in action by providing feedback on energy and water use. An example of an innovative renewable energy project is Clean Energy for Eternity17, a joint initiative of the Bega and Mosman communities.
17 Australia’s first Community Solar Farm Project is a rural-urban partnership between Clean Energy For Eternity (CEFE) chapters in Bega and Mosman, supported by both local Councils. It develops a replicable model for building medium scale community solar farms whereby options are provided for urban dwellers living in flats or rented accommodation to own solar panels located in paddocks or on rooftops. The project is being managed by an independent company that is responsible for maintaining the panels, managing the distribution of the renewable energy, and the financial returns generated. Secondary flow on benefits for local economies include building skills for a sustainable future and creating new jobs in regional Australia: http://www.auses.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/SP_AUG09.pdf

The Five Pillars Environment

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Creating a clean economy
The Framework for an ACT Clean Economy Strategy commits the ACT Government to developing a detailed government strategy that supports the on-going growth of the green/ clean economy in the ACT, noting that the ACT has unrivalled opportunity to take a lead in Australia in this respect due to its high levels of education, income, research and development, combined city/state governance and relatively small geographical size. It concludes that future action should focus particularly on renewable energy, transport, green buildings and utilities. The report notes that sustainability and economic development policies are most effective when executed on a regional basis, and that there should be a focus on strategies that encourage the retention, growth and attraction of clean business and industry. Significant opportunities also lie within the education sector in the ACT to more fully take advantage of the new low carbon economy. The ACT’s tertiary education providers have the capacity to develop, implement and adapt a range of programs and courses to reflect the new demand for environmentally focused skills in the workforce. This is particularly applicable for the University of Canberra, with its applied focus, and the CIT’s vocational education expertise. The opportunity to develop a clean business cluster also exists, which would involve the development and support for a network of ACT small businesses interested in promoting environmental sustainable business practices. There is also potential to create an industry cluster supporting the renewable energy industry. Opportunities exist to learn from what other regions are doing in the clean jobs space. Green Jobs Illawarra is a project designed to create sustainable ‘green’ jobs by uniting business, unions, government and education stakeholders, with the overarching aim of strengthening the region’s long-term economic sustainability. Under this project, green job initiatives and strategies are being incorporated into existing strategic Illawarra plans. RDA Illawarra has recently hosted a conference to explore possibilities within a clean green economy: Transforming Australia – Jobs, Industry and the Green Economy.

Waste management
The ACT produces the second highest per capita rate of waste in Australia (after WA), with the amount of waste still growing, although some 70% of this waste is recovered – Canberrans have amongst the highest rates of recycling in Australia. Addressing waste management – especially for the 30% that is not currently recoverable or recyclable, is an integral part of the move towards a sustainable ACT. The ACT Government is currently progressing its ACT Sustainable Waste Strategy 2010-2025 that aims for the ACT to lead innovation in the management of waste – to achieve full

Paper recycling

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resource recovery and a carbon neutral waste sector, i.e. a goal of zero waste to landfill. The current draft Strategy recognises waste as a valuable resource that can be recovered – reused, recycled or processed, and waste management as an opportunity to relieve pressure on raw materials, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and facilitate living in a clean environment. The NSW Government supports a South East Resource Recovery Regional Organisation of Councils (SERRROC), established in 2006 to investigate and provide a coordinated approach to the future waste and resource management needs of the region. RDA ACT has discussed the potential for a project to develop a Regional Sustainability Hub with this organisation – an environmental showcase of the successful implementation of environmentally sustainable practices.

Food security
The ACT’s level of access to quality food and fibre produced locally is less than any other major urban centre in Australia, making Canberra more greatly dependent on effective food and fibre supply chains sourcing produce from greater distances. Canberra is also dependent on outside sources for power generation and for the majority of its water catchment. These factors underline the need to improve the ACT’s access to quality food, ideally with ‘low food miles’, which means sourcing from the local region as much as possible. Another focus in this area is to reduce food waste, and to develop the concept of home food production. Originally the quarter acre suburban block size was sized to provide the capacity for families to include food production; a new focus is to develop a more communal approach to food production through food markets and community gardens that provide the added benefits of community engagement and inclusion. The context of this need is an overall declining agricultural productivity in Australia. The Prime Minister’s Science, Engineering and Innovation Council reports that Australia could become a net importer of food if the country’s population continues to grow and climate change cuts agricultural production; the report also warns that international food shortages are likely to become more severe18. Consumers are also becoming increasingly aware of the quality and source of the produce they buy. There is greater appreciation for locally grown produce (with low food miles), and for supporting Australian producers by buying Australian. Improved labelling provides more information on whether products include ‘unacceptable’ additives or have been genetically modified. Interest in food is being promoted through television shows and on-line cooking forums, and trends towards healthy-eating, ‘organics’ and the ‘slow food movement’ are gaining popularity. More broadly, appreciation around the world for food and securing supply is growing. Food production - where there is still clean and abundant land and water, with stable government, is attracting foreign investment in food production in Australia.

The Five Pillars Environment

18 Australia and Food Security in a Changing World, Prime Minister’s Science, Engineering and innovation Council, 2010.

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3.

Education and Opportunity
Strategic Objective: To strengthen the ACT’s education institutions to advance economic growth and community development.

RDA ACT will support projects and activities that will … • Develop links between education institutions, national cultural institutions and professional organisations to create opportunities for professional learning in identified growth sectors such as health care and Information and Communications Technology (ICT); • Engage residents locally, nationally and globally in science education and innovation; and • Create pathways for individuals to identify and take up learning opportunities that enhance their productive engagement in the economy and society more generally. The ACT currently has a strongly functioning and high performing education sector. With consistently the highest rates in the country for secondary school retention rates, it also boasts the highest numbers of students transitioning to higher education, and has the highest proportion of university graduates and postgraduates in the workforce. The ACT’s tertiary education institutions also provide a wide range of education services to regional, national and international communities. Some 10% of primary and secondary education students in the ACT are NSW residents. However, there are significant structural adjustments currently taking place in response to national and local reviews, and the education sector - especially the tertiary sector of the ACT, is at a critical point where decisions made in the next 12 months will have lasting impacts on the capacity of the system to continue to expand and provide excellence in education across all education dimensions. The ACT Government recently announced the formation of the Learning Capital Council to advise Government on issues going forward.

Yarralumla Primary School

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The ACT has some of the nation’s leading tertiary education providers with national and international reputations in their respective markets. These exist within close proximity of one another and provide a broad range of qualifications to local and regional Australians and growing numbers of international students. The tertiary system in the ACT includes four universities located in the ACT – the Australian National University (ANU); the University of Canberra (UC); a campus of the Australian Catholic University - Signadou (ACU); and the University of NSW at the Australian Defence Force Academy (UNSW@ADFA). Other universities offering courses in the ACT include the Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT) as the public Vocational Education and Training (VET) provider, and approximately 130 Registered Training Organisations (RTOs). These tertiary education providers are pivotal to the economy of the ACT, developing a skilled workforce to meet ACT industry needs and creating wealth through export income. They provide an essential component of the ACT community in the services they provide directly, in the support they give to primary and secondary education and community groups, and in their contribution to the ACT social fabric. Learning Capital: an integrated tertiary education system for the ACT19

Education assets
The tertiary education system in the ACT caters to over 60,000 students annually and includes two locally headquartered universities (ANU and UC) and one VET institute (CIT). It also includes significant campuses of the Australian Catholic University and UNSW at the Australian Defence Force Academy. Charles Sturt University also delivers a small range of outreach services to the Canberra market. In addition there are around 130 Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) servicing the needs of industry and the workforce. The ANU and CIT have the largest student communities, each with over 21,000 enrolments in 2009. The University of Canberra had some 14,000 enrolments in 2009, while UNSW@ADFA educated around 3,500 students and ACU around 1,000. Productive collaboration takes place across the universities; for example, the Centre for Urban and Regional Futures (CURF), which is a joint UC and ANU initiative on urban and regional futures.

The Five Pillars Education

Economic drivers
• Export Education is the ACT’s second highest export earner, and a significant component of the ACT’s economy. For the four years from 2005 to 2009, international student enrolments at the ACT’s institutions rose by over 50% to around 10,000. However, due to a range of factors that include the Global Financial Crisis, a strong Australian dollar, attacks on international students in other cities, changes to migration laws, and stronger competition from other markets, international student numbers have plateaued in recent years.
19 Learning Capital: an integrated tertiary education system for the ACT – The report of the ACT Tertiary Education Taskforce, Australian Capital Territory, 2010.

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The ACT Government has a range of ‘knowledge economy’ development policies and programs aimed at attracting skilled workers to the labour market, which include attracting students to study in Canberra’s educational institutions. These programs have an objective of retaining some of the graduating students in the local workforce to help address the skills shortage. Additionally, the four major educational institutions are significant businesses in their own right — employing over 5,000 people, with the 60,000 plus students spending in the local economy. • Workforce Skills

There is a clear association between the level of educational achievement and workforce participation. ABS data indicates that the most commonly reported barrier to working among unemployed people is their lack of training, skills or experience. In this respect the ACT fares well in having high education attainment levels, which contribute to a high workforce participation rate and high average incomes.
Learning new skills Skills Australia has identified the need for a 3% annual increase in enrolments in the tertiary sector to 2025 to deepen the skill levels of the workforce. Skills Australia has also identified improving workforce participation as an important component of improving national output and social inclusion. Increasing workforce participation can also help to alleviate some of the problems associated with the ageing demographic profile.

Although there has been consistent effort to tackle the need to address the skills shortage issue as it is an economic growth constraint for the ACT – including the ACT Skills Commission (20072008) and associated initiatives, still more needs to be done to ensure that tertiary education and training offered in the ACT is appropriate for building the workforce skills required for Canberra and for the region. It is vitally important that the education industry engage with industry, business and the public sector to ensure education and skills training is appropriately responsive to the changing needs that are being identified in the current workplace. For example, regional renewable energy initiatives highlight the need for new and on-going specialist training to support renewable energy technology.

Structural changes
• National

The recent Bradley Review of Australia’s higher education system, and the subsequent COAG Education Reform Agenda, reinforce the need to boost educational outcomes through university participation and trades skill training.

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Increasingly it will be necessary to hold a qualification to access higher skilled, high-wage jobs, and encouraging students into post school education will help to supply the suitably qualified employees that the current and future job market will demand. It is expected that in 2012 some half a million Australians will be undertaking undergraduate study at public universities, a 20% increase over the past four years. Education reform has the potential to boost the rate of productivity growth and raise the human capital value of the workforce. Ideally this translates into both raising the quantity of education – the number of years of schooling for each person, and the quality and relevance of the education system. Current reforms also recognise the need for lifelong training and education, as the needs of the workforce are changing more rapidly now than in any previous generation. • Local

The ACT Tertiary Education Taskforce produced a report in 2010: Learning Capital: an integrated tertiary education system for the ACT, which emphasises education as a first order activity of Canberra. Twelve recommendations propose a framework for planning and delivering tertiary education in the ACT that will best meet the needs of all students, irrespective of age, meeting the range of demands for skills development, retraining or upgrading skills and broader educational goals. It is clear that under the significant changes Life-long learning currently underway as a result of national policy decisions in both the university and VET sectors, the ACT education institutions needed to closely re-examine how they are structured and how they could best adapt to take full advantage of the resulting new, and more deregulated education market. The ACT Minister for Education, Andrew Barr MLA, has publicly supported moves by the University of Canberra and the CIT to more closely align their structures, operations, staff and student bodies to ensure that the Canberra tertiary education market can best respond to the imperatives of the National Reform Agenda. To explore this potential the Minister commissioned Professor Denise Bradley AC to undertake a review of options and opportunities for local restructuring involving the CIT and UC. The Bradley Review was made public in early August 2011 and recommends a merger between the UC and CIT to form a dual sector tertiary education institution that would be best positioned to respond to, and benefit from, the national education reforms. Professor Bradley’s review made it clear that a ‘do nothing’ option would not allow the sector to grow and respond to the needs of the new national regime, educational requirements of students, and the ever changing demands of industry for trained employees.

The Five Pillars Education

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Life-long learning
The ACT has a strong education sector that provides life-long learning options for its residents, with an excellent standard of school, VET, university and private RTO training and educational opportunities available. The presence of the public sector, with its high focus on on-going training and development also adds impetus to on-going learning endeavours. Together, these attributes contribute to the high numbers of postgraduate students at ACT universities and the relatively high number of Canberra based RTOs. With the needs of the workforce - in both the public and private sectors, changing ever more rapidly, educational institutions must be able to adapt and adopt flexibly and speedily to cater for the needs of a diverse potential client base.

Education for inclusiveness
It is recognised that higher education attainments within a society lead to more favourable socio-economic outcomes. A more educated community seeks higher value employment experiences and this benefits the employee, their employer, and the economy as a whole. Although the ACT has a high level of educational attainment, there are still significant pockets of disadvantage. Within the ACT and its surrounding region there are several distinct groups that suffer social disadvantage, and education-based solutions may be the catalyst to improve the lives of those who most often slip ‘under the radar’. These groups include Indigenous people, young people from disadvantaged, socially excluded families, those who interact frequently with the legal justice system, those with severe and frequent health issues, and those from regional areas with poor access to services. It is clear that a region’s educational outcomes and achievements directly impact on their social outcomes – education makes a significant difference, providing the capacity to lift people out of poverty and disadvantage.20

Regional students visit the National Museum of Australia; artwork - Martumili Ngurra 2009 by Kumpaya Girgaba, Jakayu Biljabu, Ngamaru Bidu, Thelma Judson, Nola Taylor and Jane Girgaba Martumili

20 Higher Education Support Amendment (Demand Driven Funding System and Other Measures) Bill 2011, June 2011 – excerpts from Andrew Leigh: http://www.andrewleigh.com/blog/?p=1075

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4.

A Connected Canberra
Strategic Objective: To enhance the social and economic advantage of the community by offering economically viable and innovative transport and communications solutions to overcome current barriers and challenges.

RDA ACT will support projects and activities that will … • Capitalise on current initiatives to increase the use of public transport and active transport modes within the ACT; • Improve the efficiency of regional commuting through the development of integrated transport options; • Improve transport connections between the ACT and its region - nationally and internationally, providing benefits for its residents and businesses; and • Capitalise on the National Broadband Network roll-out by better linking the community through the provision of access to ICT technology that enables improved connections.

Connected – locally, regionally, nationally and globally
The concept of connectivity includes a range of dimensions including transport - infrastructure and services for physical connectedness, and Information Communication Technology (ICT) for virtual connectedness. The result of a successfully connected city is economic empowerment, environmental ‘cleanliness’, and social inclusion across all sectors of society.

The Five Pillars

Canberra is recognised as a relatively well-serviced city that has good connections regionally and nationally. But Canberra is also on the cusp of being recognised as a global city - as the capital city of Australia it intrinsically has significant connections with other international cities. Successful global cities have strong and regular interactions with other successful global cities, across many dimensions. The ACT pursues global connectivity through governments, the research and education sectors, its export-focused business sector and its multicultural community, and these international networks maintain the connections that will help Canberra to build a global perspective. However, there are also barriers to maintaining this international connectivity, for example, geographic remoteness - Australia’s remoteness in the world, the ACT’s relative remoteness from the larger Australian population centres, and in a community context, the town centres’ remoteness from each other and from the city centre. By utilising ICT however, the tyranny of distance loses much of its significance.

Connectivity

Transport – road, air and rail
Canberra forms part of the vital transport corridor between the major cities of Sydney, 280 km to the north-east, and Melbourne, 660 km to the south-west. Currently there are three major projects in various stages of development – across the modes of road, rail and air, which will facilitate connectivity along this corridor. These are important as improving physical access to Canberra provides major opportunities for its economic growth.

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There is also significant scope to improve Canberra’s internal transport systems, and a need to develop a coherent regional vision for transport investment that focuses more on public, or shared transport, rather than the use of private vehicles. It is crucial that transport and land use planning function together to facilitate good economic, environmental and social outcomes. Transport improvements are the first of the realised benefits of good planning and need to be at the forefront of planning strategy. Amongst other benefits, improved regional transport planning will help to facilitate the high number of cross border commutes made in and out of the ACT each day, supporting Canberra’s viability as a regional, national and increasingly global centre. • ACT Roads

Roads are currently the most highly utilised transport mode for getting around the ACT, and for getting into and out of the ACT. Canberrans remain strong advocates of personal transport – private cars, as opposed to public or shared transport. High levels of uptake of electric vehicles would be effective in reducing greenhouse gas emissions from personal transport – one of the highest contributors to the ACT’s GHG emissions. Canberra’s historic planning concept of a modest CBD, with additional ‘town centres’, has created an expansive, low-density city. But opportunities abound to increase the utilisation of public transport - a task the ACT Government has been attempting to undertake over many years, but without significant advancement in public transport utilisation. The Majura Parkway has for many years been the ACT Government’s highest priority major road infrastructure project - 11.5 kms of dual carriageway to link the Federal and Monaro Highways - the north and south of the ACT, facilitating ingress and egress and reducing congestion, trucks and pollution in the city. In June 2011 the ACT Government allocated $144 m in funding towards the Majura Parkway project, and in July 2011 the Australian Government announced they would provide the matching funding. Construction of the $288 m project will commence in late 2012, and is due for completion by 201621. This transport link will provide opportunities that will boost economic growth, provide a more efficient freight bypass and reduce congestion for commuters. The project is supported by work that has recently begun on a $20 m upgrade to increase the capacity of a 1.5 km section of the Monaro Highway - over Canberra Avenue.

Monaro Highway duplication works

Further road and public transport developments will be undertaken with the growth of Molonglo over the next ten years. Parking is a major transport issue. At present, parking costs in the city are comparatively inexpensive – though these continue to rise in line with the ACT Government’s policy to deter the use of private cars in favour of public transport. There is also on-going debate on the current situation that allows free parking within the Australian Government’s Parliamentary
21 Infrastructure Australia suggested that tolls should be imposed on Majura Parkway users, but ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher refuted this offer on the basis that government tolls on public roads were a new and therefore undebated and unacceptable concept.

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Triangle. Instigating and increasing parking costs are part of most local governments’ strategies to shift commuters out of personal cars and onto public transport, however in Canberra parking costs have not yet reached the point that would provoke a quantum modal shift. • Regional Roads

The need to facilitate regional commuting is underscored by the numbers of daily cross border crossings: some 20,000 workers into the ACT from the surrounding region every day, and some 4,000 out to surrounding NSW locations. Some 5,000 students cross the border to study in the ACT daily – many on buses from Queanbeyan and Yass Valley, and many of the 240,000 people who live in the broader Capital Region also cross the border on an ad hoc basis to access Canberra’s health, retail, entertainment and recreational facilities. The Canberra Avenue connection between Queanbeyan and Fyshwick is currently the subject of a study looking to incorporate multi modal priority lanes for buses and bicycles to help to alleviate significant peak hour congestion. The Barton Highway between Yass and Canberra is becoming more congested with the increasing numbers of daily commuters from Yass and the surrounding sub-divisions into Canberra each day to access employment. Work to straighten several dangerous sections has commenced (by NSW Roads, at a cost of some $40 m), but the earlier proposal for a Murrumbateman Bypass is still an unfunded priority, as are upgrades to other sections of the Barton Highway. The Kings Highway from Canberra to Bungendore and on to the South Coast remains a priority road transport route, as does the Monaro Highway to Cooma and the snowfields beyond. These roads continue to receive incremental upgrades, but would benefit from a large injection of road upgrade funding. • Air

The Five Pillars

Canberra is the regional hub for air transport, and with the current large-scale development at the Canberra Airport - $350 m from 2009-13, this should continue to grow. The Canberra Airport also has the potential to support international travel, become the ACT freight hub – assisted by the Majura Parkway development, and it could also provide a potential site for the ACT station of the High Speed Rail route.

Connectivity

Canberra airport

Increasing the capability of the Canberra Airport is vital for increasing the ACT’s national and international connectedness, and will help to promote the growth and development of Canberra. Included in the second stage of the Airport development, currently underway, is a major extension that will include an international terminal - with customs, immigration and quarantine facilities. New technology being installed will reduce carbon emissions by 75%, and a 600,000-litre water tank will store rainwater for use in toilets and landscaping.

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Rail

The rail service in and out of Canberra is currently poor, and the infrequency of its services, combined with the comparatively slow travel times, inhibit its use. A total redevelopment is required before rail could become an effective and competitive mode of transport toservice Canberra. High Speed Rail (HSR), and previously Very Fast Trains (VFT), have been discussed in Australia on and off for High Speed Rail several decades. HSR would provide a vital transport link for the ACT, connecting it with the major east coast cities of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. The Australian Government commissioned a strategic study on the implementation of HSR - with the first phase study released on 4 August, with an initial focus on determining the economic viability of a HSR network and identifying potential routes between Brisbane and Melbourne. A critical factor in HSR development for the ACT is that it be included along the main route: Melbourne-Canberra-Sydney-Brisbane. For the major cities, the rationale for HSR is more about tackling the increasing productivity losses associated with urban traffic congestion, but for Canberra the motivation is more about facilitating access into Canberra, and providing an alternative, effective transport mode from Canberra to the state capitals, while simultaneously addressing climate change. This HSR mode of travel has returned to viability with technological advances that support an increase in train speeds; in Spain, which has similarities with Australia in that it covers long distances with relatively few people between the major population centres, the Madrid to Barcelona line has an operating speed of some 350km/h.22 In addition, a growing number of suppliers of HSR technology have entered the market in recent years, increasing competition and lowering costs; also the worsening congestion at airports and longer processing times as a result of security measures are making HSR an increasingly competitive mode of travel.23 The construction of an east coast HSR network would be a major ‘game changer’ in the development not only of Canberra, but of the whole east coast of Australia. Additionally a High Speed Rail servicing Canberra would allow for fast commutes from inland regional cities such as Goulburn, Wagga Wagga and Albury, opening up growth opportunities for those regional centres. However costs associated with such major infrastructure remain a significant barrier, as does determining a Return on Investment, when the return to the economy would be over a long period.24
22 Interestingly, the Barcelona to Madrid route is the busiest in the world (based on the weekly number of flights), with Melbourne to Sydney the fourth busiest route worldwide. 23 For more information, refer to the Canberra Business Council’s submission: High Speed Rail for Australia – an opportunity for the 21st century, April 2008: http://www.canberraairport.com.au/air_newTerminal/image.cfm 24 The Stage 1 Report estimates the cost of the network would be between $61 b and $108 b, that each full train would be the equivalent of taking 128 cars off the road, and that it would carry around 54 m passengers/year by 2036. The Report includes Canberra on the shortlisted route, with a Canberra to Sydney journey to take one hour, and Canberra to Melbourne one hour and 50 minutes.

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Public Transport

Canberrans agree that improvements need to be made to the public transport system to present a viable transport option that will prompt behavioural change away from their current preference for the private car. Transport should be planned with sustainability in mind, and a good public transport system provides benefits that include reduced GHG emissions. The current lack of engagement with the public transport system can be credited to what is perceived to be the relative convenience of the private car, which has not yet been counter-balanced by the car’s negative aspects - cost of fuel, congestion and parking, which are not judged to be prohibitive at this time. Canberrans should be encouraged to ‘share’ transport, as do the people who live in the major cities. Other options might include using smaller buses for efficiencies, and maxi taxis and shared taxis, or providing greater incentives for car-pooling.

Canberra’s ACTION bus service

To encourage people onto public transport requires a combination of favourable conditions. Firstly, it should cost less than driving, taking into account the cost of parking and of vehicle running costs. Secondly, public transport needs to be convenient, reliable, safe and comfortable – which is not the current perception, nor reality, for the majority of potential users. It also needs to be flexible so as to support the needs of a person to undertake the multiple activities that make up their daily routine. The uptake of public transport becomes more relevant with the current trends in urban design, which is adapting to meet changing needs as the population grows, ages, and moves into denser, smaller sized dwellings. This urban densification can provide important economies of scale that support the public transport option which, historically, Canberra has not had. Canberra’s unique urban structure, based as it is around its seven town centres, lends itself to public transport efficiencies. Town centres have the potential to become hubs along transport corridors for Park ‘n’ Rides. Buses can be better utilised to minimise traffic impacts in the town centres - reducing congestion. The nature of town centres also supports the concept of tailoring transport to suit specific community demographics. ACTION – the sole provider of public transport in the ACT, has been dogged by continual disputes between the government and the Transport Workers Union over many years. Despite this, improvements have been made including the introduction of dedicated bus lanes, the new Rapid lines that have improved travel on the busiest routes, and the smooth introduction of the MyWay electronic ticketing system in April this year.

The Five Pillars Connectivity

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Public transport systems, such as buses, have scope for improvement through utilising intelligent ICT infrastructure. Many public transport operators in other cities of the world have taken advantage of new technologies to enhance and provide more efficient public transport and route information. Services such as real time scheduling and monitoring, smart phone applications, Web 2.0 capabilities and the utilisation of social media channels have all been trialled by other jurisdictions with varying degrees of success. The ACT public transport system appears slow to adapt to available new technologies that could significantly improve the user experience. The ACT Government has however, recently announced a significant funding commitment (over three years) to start addressing these shortfalls. • Active Transport

Whether cycling or walking, active transport improves public health and community well-being, and by replacing trips by private car or even by public transport, it reduces GHG emissions. Active transport modes are environmentally sustainable, and the ACT Government is investing in developing and upgrading Canberra’s active transport network. Another inducement for walking and cycling is in developing the concept of ‘shared spaces’, with slow speed environments in town centres. Another is to build communities where residents are able to access employment, schools and services in close proximity to homes, thereby reducing the need for commuting. Canberra already has relatively high levels of cycling as a form of transport, and significant infrastructure to support it has been put in place over the last few decades. However the design of the city does not lent itself to encouraging large numbers of people to adopt walking as a viable alternative - distances are usually too long and thus prohibit walking becoming a realistic means of commuting. ACTION buses support the active transport concept by offering a Bike’n’Ride system that facilitates combining a bike ride with a bus trip, with a network of bike-park-ride cages, lockers and rails at bus stops and hubs across the city. In a broader version of this concept, Park’n’Rides are another solution that is being developed to provide commuters from the outer suburbs and regional locations with the opportunity to park and then link in with public transport options from the outskirts to various locations within the city. Cycle commuting is a concept being more deeply explored in the new Molonglo suburbs – building a ‘cycle highway’ that takes a fast, direct route that will help to encourage cycling as an attractive commuting option.

Canberra’s cycle paths

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Virtual connectivity
Information Technology - computers, and increasingly more mobile devices and communications technologies, not only enhances economic outcomes, but also has the potential to have increasing impact on the way people connect with their friends, colleagues and networks. It is also being increasingly utilised to facilitate better environmental outcomes, and provides an increasingly popular access to goods and services. Information technology has a large and burgeoning triple bottom line impact.

Information and Communications Technology – leading edge use 25 While information provides a way of understanding the world, it is information sharing (language) that defines our humanity, and the reduction of ‘access costs’ to information that is the catalyst for revolutionary growth and development. Investment in ICT can change the way we do things - it promotes innovation to achieve sustainable outcomes. ICT is an ‘enabler’ in all aspects of society - it is a key driver of economic competitiveness, growth and prosperity, crucial to achieving energy, transport, education and life-long learning, healthcare and security priorities, and it accelerates the pace of discovery in nearly all other fields - it can also be used to enhance environmental outcomes. ICT is about creating interfaces and linkages - its small applications can solve the big problems through being a catalyst for greater efficiency and productivity. Use of intelligent ICT such as GPS technology can monitor and control performance to enhance commercial and environmental sustainability. ICT underpins innovation in general, and innovation underpins sustainability.

The Five Pillars

ICT innovation
ICT innovation has the potential to play a key role in developing the future of a city – the city being one of the most productive constructs invented by man. Innovation requires networked environments so cities, which provide opportunities to connect, are the crucibles of innovation. It is within the city that the technological development occurs that has been driven by ‘combinatorial innovation’. Information, in essence, is a pattern and much of ICT is about detecting, processing and understanding patterns. Innovation is rarely about a new idea, it is more often about a recombination of information into new patterns, often the result of networking. Innovation is creative – the most powerful innovations e.g. the web, change the very meaning of things. The National Broadband Network (NBN) will provide a platform on which a great variety of further innovation can occur. Examples include: • Transport – by better controlling the traffic lights in Sydney, research suggests this would lead to a 10% saving in fuel used for road transport; ICT can also provide opportunities for congestion charging.
25 The role of ICT and ICT innovation in the future of the city, Robert C. Williamson (ANU & NICTA), 17 May 2011, presented at the Canberra Leaders’ Consultative Forum.

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• Energy – ICT can be used to better understand and interpret the data contained in an urban electricity grid, to monitor usage as a first step in stimulating behavioural change, and the use of smart grids are essential for widespread photovoltaic co-generation. • Environmental management – the central challenge of our time. Pervasive ICT can help to solve problems that arise because our current understanding of environmental systems is not strong enough. For example, an entire river basin could be controlled via closed loops with tens of thousands of sensors, sophisticated communication networks and data analytics. • The switch to a low-carbon economy can be facilitated through broadband opportunities e.g. shop on-line rather than driving to the shops. • Health – life-long digital medical records are the key to the development of ‘personalised medicine’ which will reap the benefits of bioinformatics26 – an entire industry in which ICT’s role is central … just by tracking search queries for ‘cold’, ‘flu’, Google can track the spread of flu weeks ahead of official means. • Education – ICT means there is less need to memorise facts, and thus there is more time for analysis and understanding. • Commerce – e-business, networked supply chains, sophisticated analytics.27 • Government – e-voting, digital democracy; Web 2.0 sentiment analysis.28 ICT innovation can enable the evolution of cities in general, and Canberra and its region especially, as our city and region can continue to enable and accelerate the innovation of ICT. Canberra has the scope to promote the city as a centre of excellence in ICT - it is home to NICTA where breakthrough, internationally recognised ICT research is undertaken to drive and enhance Australia’s future – where researchers invent (create new ideas, seize business opportunities and take risks), inspire entrepreneurship, and collaborate, commit and focus to deliver and excel. Technology can be used to create records for people that include all their information e.g. health and education. By overlapping the health and education networks, information could become accessible from any portal (though confidentiality issues would need to be addressed).

Social connectivity utilising technology
Increasingly residents of the ACT are utilising on-line tools and mechanisms to maintain, enhance and grow their social connections. And while the majority of the growth is occurring in the younger age groups, both baby boomers and retirees, especially educated ones, are increasingly looking to on-line services such as Facebook, Skype, Twitter etc to enhance their social connectivity.

RDA ACT’s Facebook page

26 Bioinformatics – the use of computers to extract and analyse biological data. 27 Analytics – the branch of logic involved with the analysis of propositions. 28 Sentiment analysis – on-line expression that has proliferated through the rise of social media – blogs and social networks, that provide information in the form of reviews, ratings and recommendations that develop understanding, identify relevant content, and facilitate appropriate action e.g. customer profiling to target marketing.

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While many of the early technological advances in information technology were driven by economic and business needs, increasingly the greatest advances are in on-line services, and the greatest innovation is occurring in the area of on-line social engagement. Although on-line social networks can never replace face-to-face experiences, they can add significant value by helping to overcome the tyranny of distance that can hamper social connections, and they are a valuable means of providing the all-important social connectivity for the ageing, less-mobile population.

Access to services
Increasingly, governments at all levels are providing a greater range of services ‘on-line’. This includes access to government services, and also the wide range of health, education, retail and information services. And on-line services are now available anywhere, anytime, and on a wide range of devices, and much of this access has become free, or low cost. On-line access to services has a significant role to play in overcoming social and economic isolation. A challenge exists however in ensuring that everyone can get access to the available on-line services, not just the affluent and educated. The people who would benefit most from having access to on-line services are those who live in isolated communities, on suburban extremes, in public housing, not on public transport routes, and those with economic limitations who cannot afford a computer or smart phone. This is also the demographic sector that would benefit most from having improved access to on-line government assistance services, to medical services, and to educational institutions.

National Broadband Network
The digital economy is defined as the global network of economic and social activities that are enabled by information and communications technologies - such as the internet and mobile networks, which collectively boost productivity, global competitiveness and social well-being. In a digital economy, distance becomes increasingly irrelevant, where once it was a barrier for regional Australia, and even for Australia as a nation in the global context. The National Broadband Network (NBN) is an Australian Government investment in the enabling infrastructure that will support the growth of Australia’s digital economy by giving metropolitan and regional Australian communities equal access to high-speed broadband at a uniform national wholesale price. The National Digital Economy Strategy29 sets out a vision for Australia to realise the benefits of the NBN and to help position Australia as one of the world’s leading digital economies. It reports that effective use of the NBN can stimulate on-line participation by Australian households, businesses and not-for-profit organisations, and greater digital engagement in regional Australia.

The Five Pillars Connectivity

Roll out of the National Broadband Network

29 The National Digital Economy Strategy, Australian Government, Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, 2011.

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It can also facilitate smart management of our environment and infrastructure, improve health and aged care, expand on-line education, increase teleworking, and improve on-going government service delivery and engagement. As part of the delivery strategy, the NBN will be rolling out its Fibre To the Premise (FTP) model in Gungahlin in Phase Two of its program, Gungahlin having been identified as an area deficient in quality broadband access. NBN Co has been engaging regularly with the Gungahlin community through the Community Council (GCC) and is working with the ACT Government to facilitate a smooth roll out process. NBN Co announced in June 2011 (at a GCC Community Meeting) that once NBN Co begins work in Canberra, they will work through to completion. No time frames were provided to finish the entire ACT coverage, but NBN Co noted an anticipated ‘end of 2012’ to meet Australian Government commitments for Gungahlin. Nationally, NBN Co has recently reached an agreement with Telstra to access Telstra infrastructure and this will assist to achieve a speedier roll out. In the ACT however, there is already a world leading optic fibre broadband provider in place - TransACT. It is understood that NBN Co are currently negotiating with TransACT regarding accessing its optic fibre infrastructure. TransACT provides Fibre to the Node (FTN), as opposed to the Premise, as NBN will do. If an agreement is reached between NBN Co and TransACT, all that will be then required is an extension of the optic fibre cable from the Node (usually located at street level) to each house (Premise) along that street, and this would ensure a far speedier roll out for the ACT. However, if no agreement can be reached between the two companies, then NBN Co will need to roll out a duplicate network to sit alongside the TransACT network, making it a far longer process. However important the optic fibre cables are, they are only the base infrastructure. The success of the NBN will be in the ways and means developers create applications for its use, and the adoption of these applications by users. Tele-health and remote education are prime examples of immediate and needed uses, but it is likely that advancements in social networking (including HD video calls) and in the entertainment sphere (HD movies and on-line games) may be the first beneficiaries of the faster speeds. Often, entertainment applications and services that deliver a highly valued ‘pay for use’ model lead the technological advances, with the free, government, community and social advances taking a while longer, and following on from the leanings of the entertainment industries.

On-line engagement
The emergence of Web 2.0 - user creation and contribution, and active, rather than passive involvement, and Gov 2.0 - citizen engagement in policy and program delivery and increasing consultation, has significantly increased the opportunity for all members of society to become involved in a wide range of issues that interest them. The electorate is no longer limited to voicing their opinion at elections or by talking the loudest at a community meeting - citizens can choose from a variety of on-line options. All politicians are now using new media channels to both get their messages out, and to listen and learn from their constituents. This is evident in the ACT Legislative Assembly whose members are active on Twitter and have Facebook pages, and also with Australian Government

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representatives. Senator Kate Lundy, for example, is a leading exponent (internationally recognised) in utilising on-line media channels for her own communications, and also for advocating participation in government decision making by citizens during the course of government business.

The Five Pillars

ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher MLA launched her new on-line blog site in late August 2011

Most recently, the ACT Government Cabinet of four Ministers hosted a ‘virtual community cabinet’ on Twitter. For an hour they read and responded to a wide range of questions and comments on ‘tweet’s with the identifying hashtag of #actvcc. This on-line ‘experiment’ was assessed to be a success, and the ACT Government is continuing to examine additional on-line methods of engaging more fully with ACT residents. On-line engagement has increased the ACT Government’s reach significantly and has diversified the range of opinions voiced, and this strategy should be continued to ensure a broad, representative community voice. The ACT Government drove a ground-breaking community engagement initiative in 2010 with the Time to Talk 2030 process that utilised a wide variety of engagement methods - including an interactive website (visited by 20,000+, with 34,000 opinions and comments posted) and an on-line and telephone survey (2,500 participated). This process reached many people in the community who often do not have a say - those who never attend a community meeting, or write letters to the editor or their local member. The National Capital Authority (NCA) has also been trialling on-line engagement, including a community engagement website which has increased the NCA reach over 20-fold. Willingness by government agencies and by politicians to engage with the community requires courage, confidence and sound judgment. Dedication to accountability and transparency are universal cultural qualities that can help to win community trust.

Connectivity

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5.

Empowered Communities
Strategic Objective: To empower individuals within the ACT to have the confidence and capacity to shape their own and their community’s destinies.

RDA ACT will support projects and activities that will … • Promote social inclusion and address disadvantage through stimulating community engagement and participatory planning; • Support effective planning for population growth and ageing that facilitates improved connections within and between communities; • Support the equitable provision of regional health services with increasing focus on e-health, preventative health and consumer empowerment; and • Provide housing choices to meet the needs of the growing population and its changing demographic.

The social, disability and community services sector
The Vision of the Canberra Social Plan 201130 is for Canberra to be, “a place where all people reach their potential, make a contribution and share the benefits of an inclusive community”, based on the themes of connection, belonging and collaboration.

Canberra is one of the world’s most affluent societies, but the city also includes some 20,000 households earning less than $650/week, and the number of people experiencing financial disadvantage continues to grow - with increasing social impacts. Additionally, there are 78,000 Canberrans who are insufficiently literate to participate in the emerging knowledge-based economy - it is an irony to juxtapose this statistic against that of the approximately 40,000 students who are currently studying at ACT universities. Community inclusion is often described as – promoting social cohesion and addressing disadvantage; this concept is ideally viewed not as a single action that a government can take, but rather as a lens through which the full functions of governance should be viewed. Decisions made across the gamut of portfolio responsibilities – both at federal and territory government levels, have downstream impacts on vulnerable people. The ACT Human Rights Act 2004 affirms the belief that everyone has the right to live a life of dignity and value. Social inclusion strategies need to take a holistic approach that focus on stimulating engagement, participation and empowerment, giving all individuals the opportunity to live within an inclusive and cohesive community, and to contribute to society. Social innovation is defined as - new ideas that resolve social, cultural, economic and environmental challenges. Unlike other disciplines such as the sciences and the arts, the social innovation sphere in the ACT appears somewhat underdeveloped. However, there is potential to further develop and enhance social innovation through activities that bring together activists who aim to build social capital.
30 http://www.cmd.act.gov.au/policystrategic/socialplan

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People with disabilities have a range of complex needs and may require assistance to participate in gainful employment, get access to affordable and appropriate housing and transport, and access to sport and recreation facilities. Employment opportunities for people with a disability have diminished in the ACT as the public service now rarely offers work at the APS/ASO 1 and 2 levels. It was noted at the Leaders’ Forum, that strategies to redress social disadvantage are often best addressed with the participation of people who have a lived experience of social disadvantage.

Disadvantage and inequality31 Characteristics generally associated with disadvantaged households include those in which the reference person is aged over 65 years, is female, not in the labour force, and is heavily reliant on government cash benefits as the main source of income. Social exclusion can involve three dimensions: disengagement or lack of participation in society, services exclusion - such as lack of access to key services, and economic exclusion. A household is considered to be in poverty if their income is below half the average person’s equivalent disposable income. Canberra is a poor place to be poor - it can be a very expensive place to live for people who earn below the average income because its buoyant local economy and climate of extremes lead to higher living costs. ‘Essentials of life’ include stable housing and access to health and education, and ACTCOSS estimates that some 10% of Canberrans experience deprivation of these essentials – financial and social disadvantage, particularly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, sole parent families, unemployed people, people with disabilities, and private renters. The Australian Community Sector Survey 2008 notes that community services organisations reported that they operate beyond maximum capacity, and often do not have the capacity to help everyone in need.

The Five Pillars Empowerment

The community sector
The ACT’s community sector responds to a wide spectrum of needs including housing, youth, childcare, caring, aged care, disability, drugs and alcohol, mental health, case management, counselling, policy and advocacy, as well as administration and development – to help empower Canberra’s most vulnerable. Evidence suggests that the community sector continues to struggle to attract and retain people with expertise. Changes to the sector need to be made to redress its current status as ‘undervalued and underpaid’. The social, disability and community services sector tends to attract workers that are passionate and committed, and currently there are more than 5000 people working in this sector in the ACT in mental health, disability, childcare and community.
31 Social Needs of the Territory, address to the Canberra Leaders’ Consultative Forum by Roslyn Dundas – Director, ACT Council of Social Service, 17 May 2011.

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Fair Work Australia (May 2011)32 found that there is currently unequal remuneration for workers in the community services sector in comparison with state and local government employees who perform work of similar value, and the fact that many of the workers in this sector are women has contributed to this inequality. On 6 July 2011, the Australian Government - the largest funder of the community sector, agreed to provide ‘fair and appropriate supplementation’ to help support phased-in pay increases to be awarded by Fair Work Australia under the social and community sector equal pay case – currently being determined.33 Another way to stimulate the sector is through government investment in services that support education and employment opportunities, secure and sustainable housing, good health and life-long well-being, and a collaborative and concerted effort to address disadvantage. The ACT Government is addressing these needs with a large investment in health to provide health services with additional hospital beds and a growing professional health workforce; in education by providing new schools, quality teaching, smaller class sizes and improved learning facilities; and by increasing the supply of, and supporting access to affordable housing.

Volunteering
The ACT has the highest proportion of volunteers compared with any other Australian jurisdiction, and this adds tangible benefit to the ACT’s community sector. Volunteers play a crucial role in this sector – there are currently some 120,000 people who volunteer regularly in the ACT, and there is potential for governments to better support their effort. High levels of volunteering can lead to a significant accountability burden that it is difficult for this sector to meet, as often there are insufficient resources to deliver on government auditing requirements. Also the government requires accountability reports that are based on outputs, rather than on achieving outcomes i.e. recording by the number of hours spent, rather than the significance of the action. This could be addressed through a shift to focus accountability on qualitative rather than quantitative reporting, and would be of benefit right across the community sector.

Intergenerational: Who’s helping who? (Helen Fenwick)

32 http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/05/16/3218002.htm 33 http://www.probonoaustralia.com.au/news/2011/07/government-commits-support-sector-equal-pay

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Access to employment
An economy that is diverse allows for employment opportunities across the gamut of possibilities - from low paid/low skilled employment through to highly skilled technical and professional roles. The ACT economy is highly geared towards the public sector – the provision of services, and is dominated by white-collar jobs. This allows for a wealthy, skilled and more broadly engaged workforce, but severely limits opportunities available for those who desire, or best fit, other forms of employment. Such jobs in the manufacturing, agriculture, transport and wholesale sectors are limited in the ACT and this results in difficulties in placing a proportion of our workforce into meaningfully engaged labour. The consequence is that a sector of the workforce is disengaged, and increasingly socially and economically excluded. The broadening of the economy would allow for a more diverse employment base and more engaged total workforce.

Education
Education is a key to individuals engaging with a society. The ACT is fortunate to maintain high retention and completion rates to Year 12. It also has the highest proportion of employees who have degrees and postgraduate qualifications, but this is at the expense of the VET qualified workforce. Canberra lags behind most of the rest of Australia in VET qualified people. In developing policy and programs it must be remembered that, although we may be aspirational in setting high levels of education and qualifications, for many people a university degree is not a desired option - or an educational reality. However it is important to provide on-going access to VET and Adult Community Education programs as part of a broader suite of lifelong learning opportunities.

The Five Pillars Empowerment
Glass blowing

To ensure maximum workforce participation, and the subsequent economic (and thus social) empowerment, people need to be trained to the level of their capacity. Education targets must focus on having a high level of attainment that is relevant to the employment being sought trades people need relevant trades training, not degrees.

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Health and well-being services
The ACT has one of the healthiest communities in the world with access to a modern, well-equipped public health system, and ACT residents have the best life expectancy and health status in Australia. However the ACT health system, like most others, needs to respond to mounting pressure caused by an increasing and ageing population and increased expectations and demand. The demand for skilled health professionals currently exceeds demand and this increased demand is currently resulting in critical workforce shortages across the health sector in almost all of its employment dimensions. In response, Canberra Hospital, Woden governments are instigating programs that strengthen the capacity to recruit internationally by providing bridging programs, and investing further in education, research, teaching and skills development. The ACT Government’s Live in Canberra program has provided some focus in recruitment, often targeting health professionals on their overseas missions. A growing and ageing population leads to an increasing demand for health services. In addition to workforce pressures, demands on the health system include: • increasing costs – emerging technology, changing models of care; • higher consumer expectations – flexibility, access to technology; • growth in support services - people want to stay at home and be independent; • greater specialisation; • increasing demand; • growth of services related to servicing the ageing population - people are living longer with multiple chronic conditions e.g. bariatric (obese) patients, diabetes etc. All this and more within a health care budget that already comprises approximately 28% of the ACT budget. The ACT Primary Health Care Strategy 2011-2014 – Consultation Draft34 was released in March 2011 with the aim of providing more effective service delivery and a more integrated health system. Its priority reform areas include: • improving access to health care and reducing inequity; • the treatment and care of the sick; • improving continuity and coordination of care; and
34 http://www.health.act.gov.au

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• increasing the focus on health promotion, illness prevention, early intervention and maximising community and individual self-reliance (consumer empowerment) while improving quality, safety, performance and accountability. The Vision is for a sustainable, flexible and continuously improving health system, with hospitals better integrated into a broad based system that includes public, private and community delivered services. The strategy aims to provide a health system that is socially appropriate, universally accessible and scientifically sound, that integrates allied and social services to provide continuity of care, facilitates collaboration and partnership with other sectors – for example, research and infrastructure, and uses advancements in technology to support service delivery and promote public health. Preventative health is noted as an area that requires more focus and investment as it not only leads to improved health outcomes, but also increases community engagement.

National health reform
By August 2011, all state and territory governments had signed up to the Australian Government’s national health reforms which include a $19.8 b investment in public hospitals through to 2019-2020, but also invests in alleviating the pressure on the hospital system reducing hospital admissions through strengthening prevention and primary health care services. From 1 July 2012 major new health reform measures will be introduced, including an after hours GP helpline, pilots in tele-health – Medicare rebates for on-line (video) consultations with medical specialists for people in remote, regional and outer metropolitan areas of Australia, more GP Super Clinics, upgrades to emergency departments and elective surgery facilities, and development of e-health records.35 The choice to have a Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record is available, designed to provide a new level of control of health information36 resulting in better quality healthcare for all Australians. National health reform measures have increased investment in ACT hospitals supporting more elective surgery operations, new sub-acute beds, and supporting improved primary care with 16 GPs to start their training in the ACT this year. The ACT has also been selected to lead the way in e-health when it becomes the first jurisdiction to roll out the Master Catalogue Information Services that will streamline its medical supply and inventory system.37

The Five Pillars Empowerment

Mental health care
Mental health issues and access to primary care needs to be better addressed, particularly for disadvantaged groups - young people and vulnerable families, the aged and disabled, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait island people.

35 http://www.health.gov.au/internet/ministers/publishing.nsf/Content/mr-yr11-nr-nr130.htm?OpenDocument&yr=2011&mth=07 36 Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record System: Legislation issues paper, July 2011: http://www.health.gov.au/internet/ministers/publishing.nsf/Content/mr-yr11-nr-nr138.htm 37 http://www.health.gov.au/internet/ministers/publishing.nsf/Content/mr-yr11-nr-nr125.htm

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Aged care
In her first public role as ACT Chief Minister at the Canberra Leaders’ Consultative Forum 2011, Katy Gallagher stated that a key issue for the ACT is future planning for population growth and ageing - dealing with the need to grow infrastructure and services, particularly in the areas of health and community inclusion. Aged care is a significant issue, not only for the ACT, but for all of Australia and many other western economies. Populations are ageing as people live longer, aided by medical technologies and improved disease management – cures, prevention, and medication. People now expect to live for 20-30 years or more beyond their retirement from the workforce, and they expect to have quality of life, independence and health during those years. Not so long ago, older people received more family support that included care and accommodation. However, in the 21st century there is a growing expectation for people during their retirement years to have access to a wider range of services and independent living options outside the family sphere. A wide variety of aged care options are now considered essential to meet the growing demands, including support for: • ageing in place - a range of housing options suitable for older people that are available in the suburbs where they lived and raised their families; • independent living retirement villages; • low care retirement villages; • high care, but remaining independent; • high care, shared accommodation; • hospital care; • chronic high care units; and • palliative care. Many commercial aged-care facility providers now offer the full range of services but many in society do not have the financial capacity to take advantage of such services. A high quality range of these services needs to be provided for those who cannot afford private care, to allow them to live with respect, dignity and good health in their final years. There is also a need for better preventative health programs for the ageing population. Support for such programs in local communities can play an important role in providing mental health support by keeping people connected, and in the uptake of preventative health measures. Community gardens are a good example of a concept that can provide aged people in particular with opportunities to stay connected and to keep fit and healthy.

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The ‘regional relationship’
The federal Budget 2011-12 committed to providing $1.8 b (over six years) to support the development of regional health infrastructure. People living in rural and regional areas typically have poorer health outcomes than their metropolitan counterparts and have limited access to health services. Many regional areas struggle to attract and retain qualified health professionals. Currently, Canberra’s public hospitals service over 16,000 NSW residents annually, coming from across the southern half of NSW. This ‘regional relationship’ improves the system and brings benefits to both ACT and regional residents – stimulating increased capacity through economies of scale allows for a wider range of services to be available in the ACT. There is additional potential to better meet regional needs through building health infrastructure and developing services that have been resourced to support the region, and by facilitating regional access to specialists on-line.

At the Canberra Leaders’ Consultative Forum in May 2011, the ACT Chief Minister said, “Health is an area where the question needs to be – how can the ACT best service ACT and regional residents?” “Regional health care is an important but complex issue.”

The Five Pillars

The ACT Chief Minister (and Health Minister) is supportive of building partnerships across the region - particularly between the ACT and NSW governments (and its Southern Regional Health Service), to better co-ordinate, plan and resource the current health system. The concept of a regional health service system also aligns with the Australian Government imperatives of building local and regional health networks to better enable the delivery of services. An improved ‘regional relationship’ would enhance the current system for the benefit of both Canberra and regional residents stimulating increased capacity allows for a wider range of services to be made available for everyone. Regional residents coming into the ACT to access health services allows the variety, extent and level of ACT health services to expand due to economies of scale and a wider variety of needs presenting.

Empowerment

Newly opened Queanbeyan GP Super Clinic

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Housing
Projections for population growth and ageing are relevant to ACT planning, particularly for services, but also when considering aspects such as future land release and housing requirements. The consequential social implications prompt the need for adjustments to the system - for example, at present the waiting list for housing support is growing. It is important to get the balance right between providing housing for a growing community, yet living sustainably within the constraints of our environment.

The ACT has a growing and ageing population - the population is projected to reach 500,000 by 2044, and people aged 85 years are projected to increase by 500%, reaching 22,500 in 2056,38 largely due to increasing life expectancy (84 years for women and 80 years for men - slightly higher than the national average). However, the ACT has a younger population relative to the surrounding region, due to the in-inflow of relatively younger people to work, and the relatively high outflow of retirees. Average household size in the ACT is projected to decline to 2.4 people in 2031, with couple families without children to become the most common family type in the ACT by 2013-14; also, the number of people living alone is projected to rise significantly - by up to 88% by 2031 – women to 30,000, men to 25,000. The population density of Canberra is comparatively very low at 440 people per square kilometre – in comparison, Sydney LGA has 6,250 people per square kilometre.

Urban design trends towards infill and greater housing density have emerged as a result of: an increasing ACT population, a finite amount of greenfields development land available, a far greater proportion of people in the aged bracket, the need to take into account the carbon footprint and GHG emissions, and the trend towards smaller household occupancy. New urban planning models for city and suburban living need to reflect the changing demographics, provide solutions that encourage a cultural shift to acceptance of higher density housing, and provide a range of housing types that cater for a diversity of needs. Housing should also be based on universal design principles39 that can appropriately accommodate all sectors of the community including the aged, children, and people with a disability. Contemporary design thinking also suggests that community hubs could be created to cater specifically for different groups, with the differences based on the needs of the particular community. In the case of aged care accommodation, this would allow clustering of aged care services that would be easier and more efficient to deliver.

38 ACT Population Projections 2007 to 2056, ACT Government, Australian Capital Territory, Canberra, May 2009. 39 The Principles of Universal Design, The Centre for Universal Design, NC State University, 1997: http://www.ncsu.edu/www/ncsu/design/sod5/cud/about_ud/udprinciples.htm. The underlying concept is that products and environments should be designed to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialised design.

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Meeting the changing needs – affordable housing
Access to adequate housing is a right enshrined in several international conventions, and a necessity for a sustainable, inclusive and well-functioning community. The ACT had more than 1000 people recorded as homeless in the 2006 census, and since then the number has probably grown due to increasing house prices and rents – with the average property price growing from $400,000 to $550,000 and earnings rising only 4.3% in the same period. Lack of affordable housing increases the risk of social and economic exclusion and also makes it more difficult for local businesses to recruit employees. The ACT Government policy of encouraging skilled workers to migrate to Canberra to help meet skills shortages is being constrained by the high housing prices and the tight and relatively expensive rental market, and this aspect helps to ensure that housing supply in the ACT remains a priority issue. The range of housing needs include: • affordable housing – land released for private housing, often accessed by first home owners; • subsidised housing - includes the range of social housing; • affordable rental housing e.g. for visiting health workers; • short-term lower-cost accommodation for people who come to the ACT to complete a contract (noting that up to a third of all construction workers are from ‘elsewhere’); and • subsidised student accommodation for tertiary students from around the region and for international students, and • low-cost temporary accommodation for visiting school student groups. Larger organisations and businesses should be encouraged to invest in affordable housing as a workforce strategy, with the Government to set the public policy framework - to release parcels of land and provide a cohesive and efficient planning process. New housing for the socially disadvantaged could be linked more directly to services and service providers. Social housing - the ACT Government, through Housing ACT, provides social housing to people at risk of homelessness or in crisis – people requiring Uni Lodge, Childers Street emergency accommodation, lowincome households, and people unable to find appropriate accommodation in the private rental market, such as people with special needs. The Government also leases properties to supported accommodation providers. Housing ACT manages 11,617 social housing properties valued at $3.1 billion (February 2008).

The Five Pillars Empowerment

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Public housing - historically Canberra’s housing was government-built to house the many public servants moving to the ACT. But much of this public housing - otherwise known as government housing, was built around the 1950s and is now ageing. There is a current move to re-design this ageing public housing to improve the liveability of current housing stock and provide modified or special needs public housing. New public housing stock is being developed for older Canberrans to provide a variety of options and locations - smaller homes, close to services, shops and transport, that should also ease the demand on public housing for larger homes. Community housing – community and not-for-profit housing providers make affordable rental accommodation available for low to moderate-income earners, particularly those who do not qualify for public housing, and these are usually partly subsidised by government. The ACT Government have partnered with CHC40 to assist with the delivery of the Affordable Housing Action Plan (2007), providing CHC with access to a $50 m revolving finance facility and $42 m of housing assets, in return for delivery of 1,000 new affordable properties over the decade. Under the ACT’s Affordable Housing Action Plan41, more land is being released, with fasttracked approval for greenfields sites, concessions for first home buyers and pensioners, and assurance that 20% of blocks in new residential estates will be set aside for affordable housing. Programs such as the Street to Home outreach program for rough sleepers (St Vinnies) and Common Ground Canberra have received government funding to develop permanent, safe and supportive housing for the most vulnerable.

‘No room in the boom!’ bumper sticker

40 CHC (Creating Homes and Communities) is a not-for-profit development company that delivers affordable properties – both for sale and rent, to the ACT community. CHC is partnering with Canberra’s builders and architects to create affordable properties for people on low or moderate incomes, which aim to deliver quality, well-located, functional and flexible housing options. 41 http://www.actaffordablehousing.com.au/home_ownership.html

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