Canberra’s sister city relationships are continuing to bring benefits to our city as we build friendships and cement business ties.
Twenty five years ago, then Chief Minister Rosemary Follett signed the Canberra’s first sister city relationship with Nara.
Since then, there have been numerous delegations between the two cities focussing on education, culture and business.
Earlier this month, I visited Nara as part of a broader trade mission to Japan. While there, we met with Mayor Gen Nakagawa to discuss final arrangements for his visit.
Mayor Nakagawa and his delegation, including more than 50 school students from Nara, then arrived in Canberra to celebrate this significant milestone.
This week we will host a delegation from our newest sister city – Wellington.
The delegation will be led by Wellington Mayor Justin Lester and we will meet to discuss our success to date in cross promoting business, tourism, culture and research. We will also discuss further work to re-establish flights between the two cities.
In 2020 we will celebrate the 20th anniversary of our sister city relationship with Beijing. Work has recently started on a program of activities to mark this important occasion, and I plan to visit Beijing in the first quarter of 2019.
On top of this, we are open to potential collaboration opportunities with other jurisdictions.
I had productive discussions with the Mayor of the District of Columbia, Muriel Bowser, earlier this year during my visit to Washington DC.
Each city is home to our respective federal governments, both are subject to a local economy heavily contingent on the knowledge and service sectors and both of our governments combine the delivery of city level municipal governance with state level services.
We are working to establish a closer relationship with Washington DC, and look at potential partnerships in the areas of tourism, economic development, sustainability, social inclusion and the delivery of government infrastructure.