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ACT should pay for new Lodge: Business Council

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Canberra has a "tired and dirty" look and as part of a fresh coat of paint ACT taxpayers should pay for a new Lodge for the Prime Minister in return for federal help in funding a bigger convention centre.

In a draft policy report to the ACT government, the Canberra Business Council said the nation's capital lacked tourism infrastructure, including facilities for major international conferences.

Affordable accommodation also was a problem, the Cpuncil said in its tourism policy statement.

Entitled "Canberra: Power, Politics and Knowledge", the report said tourists generated more than $1.2 billion a year in economic benefits to the city and kept almost 13,000 people employed.

Next year's Centenary of Canberra should be more than just a series of local community events, and the territory government's plans to rebrand the city would ring hollow unless there was a new convention centre.

"The proposed investment by the ACT government in branding and marketing Canberra as a hub for ideas and innovation will ring hollow if Canberra does not have a conference centre with state-of-the-art facilities, cutting-edge technology and iconic design," the Council said.


The policy statement said an integrated tourism strategy also should include direct international flights, high-speed rail, upscale hotels and an efficient local transport system, including light rail.

On the Prime Minister's official Canberra residence, the Council said the Lodge was not designed for large ceremonial functions and was "well below standard for most" official occasions.

In a key recommendation, it said: "The ACT government (should) offer to build a new Lodge for the federal government in return for a contribution to a new state-of-the-art meeting and convention facility on Canberra."

But there also is a problem with the city's appearance.

"Canberra is beginning to look tired and dirty," the CBC said.

"Grass is not being cut or trimmed regularly, rubbish accumulates in alleyways in shopping precincts, and streetscapes are in need of renewal on the major roads and parkways.

"In endeavouring to change the way Canberra is perceived, and in promoting Canberra as a vibrant tourism destination, there is a need to improve a number of aspects of its look, including entrances to the city, the city centre, and the toilet facilities in and around the city."