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Hendry welcomed the announcement of the proposed Australia Forum made today at the National Gallery of Australia by Dr Peter Shergold, the chairman of the Australia Forum Steering Committee.
“We support the Steering Committee’s calls for a new national institution able to host large gatherings of national significance,” said Hendry. “We especially welcome the ACT Government’s announcement that it will invest in further developing the project to implementation stage. The Bureau looks forward to working closely with the ACT Government to progress this initiative.
“It’s appropriate that the national capital should be the home of a centre which would enable Australians from all parts of the country to come together to participate in the national conversation.
“The Australia Forum would also be a world class meeting facility capable of hosting high level international Heads of Government and Ministerial meetings, which at present are not coming to the national capital because we lack the facilities.”
Hendry welcomed the involvement of the Research and Learning Institutes Group (RALIG) in the discussions about the Australia Forum.
“Canberra is home to the Australian Government, Australia’s national institutions, many industry peak bodies and some of the world’s leading academic and research universities. A centre for national conversation in Canberra would foster closer linkages between policymakers, industry leaders, academics and the Australian public,” se said.
The Australia Forum would be a major boost to the Canberra economy.
“Business tourism is vital for the Canberra economy. The local conference and business event market has always been a strong economic performer, bringing almost $1 billion to the Canberra economy each year,” said Hendry.
“However, we know that we are missing out on a range of high-level conferences and conventions because current facilities are inadequate. We need a centre that has world class security features and multimedia communications, plus meeting facilities capable of hosting larger numbers than is possible at the current convention centre.
“The Australia Forum would make Australia’s capital an internationally competitive conference destination. The Bureau is committed to working closely with the Australia Forum team to bring this initiative to life.”