Birthday brings a time to aim high

MARCH 12 marks 100 years since the official naming of Canberra – a day when we declared to the world that Australia was a newly federated nation.

One century on and we can celebrate all that it means to be the nation’s capital – the people, the politics, our community and varied cultures.

But as we take a collective deep breath to blow out the candles, we should be thinking about our birthday wishes – what we want for the future.

Let’s demand a world-class public transport system – light rail that connects north and south Canberra to work and play; cycleways and bike sharing to rival Copenhagen or Paris and high-speed rail linking the capital to Sydney and Melbourne.

Let’s fight for a 24/7 city centre, vibrant and cohesive. Civic needs a master plan. We deserve better public spaces and we should revitalise our heritage buildings.

Real development in West Basin must be a priority with a convention centre meeting international standards. We deserve a community promenade and an urban waterfront to gather and celebrate.

And we need to ensure that Canberra remains a home for all Australians – not just the privileged few. A variety of housing options is crucial if we are to maintain diversity in our community and offer a future to younger Canberrans.

Our city is still young and ripe for “new-think” urban planning and design. Canberra must continue to be a city of optimism, setting new standards and aiming high in hope.

Catherine Carter is the ACT executive director of the Property Council of Australia.

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