THE Australian Public Service is planning an event to mark its contribution to the shaping of Canberra during this year’s Centenary of Canberra celebrations and is calling for suggestions and ideas from public servants, past and present.
Jane Halton, secretary of the Department of Health and Ageing, together with other departmental heads and the Public Service Commissioner are encouraging Canberra’s public servants past and present to showcase the work they have done in public service and within the development of the ACT community.
Prof Halton, who became a public servant not long after graduating from ANU, said it was important during this historic centenary year to recognise the contribution of those public servants who have worked, lived, volunteered and contributed in so many personal ways to the life of Canberra.
“When Canberra was first established as a permanent home for the Australian parliament the majority of people who lived, worked and developed the Canberra community were public servants,” she says.
“Up until the early 1970s many public servants came to Canberra on a short term basis – to do a specific job, and then to return to other States. In fact, some government departments did not complete their relocation to Canberra until around the end of the decade.
“However, many stayed on, inspired by the beauty and lifestyle in the ‘bush capital’ including my father, Charles Halton, who was recruited from Canada to be the secretary of transport in the 1970s. Like my parents, many others decided to stay and bring up their children in Canberra which has now become home to subsequent generations.
“From the beginnings of Canberra it was known as a government town and while more than 50 per cent of businesses are now in the private sector, many of those provide goods and services to the public service and its employees.
“So it is important for public servants past and present to contribute to the Centenary celebrations with memories, stories and photos that add to the history of the nation’s capital.”
Prof Halton says that she and her colleagues on the Secretaries Board will ask public servants to suggest the type of contribution they think would be the most appropriate to signify the role of the Australian Public Service in developing Canberra through an on-line ideas survey.
Suggestions to apscentenaryofcanberra.com before 4pm, May 3.