The city of Canberra should get divorced from the image of Parliament House and declare itself a national park city in a bid to attract national tourism, a Labor backbencher says.
Dr Marisa Paterson will on Wednesday move a motion in the ACT's parliament calling on the ACT government to explore becoming an internationally recognised national park city.
"I think we've got really great tourism objectives at the moment, and really great climate policy and establishing the ACT as a national park city would just cement all that," Dr Paterson said.
"And really it's an opportunity to promote Canberra nationally, particularly in these Covid times, when there's a lot of competition for national tourism."
Dr Paterson's motion will call on the ACT government to assess the level of support and begin talks with the National Park City Foundation.
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London is the only city so far recognised with the status, which includes a commitment to ensure residents have access to protected green spaces.
Other cities in the United Kingdom have begun the process of becoming national park cities, while Adelaide has also looked at the certification.
National park city status does not apply restrictions on planning and is informed by a series of voluntary commitments, designed to ensure citizens have access to natural environments.
Dr Paterson said she was dismayed pictures of Parliament House were chosen to illustrate the recent news Canberra had been found to be the world's most sustainable city.
"We are more than Parliament House. And the policies and actions that contribute to our sustainability do not arise from federal politics or from the house on the hill," she said.
"They arise from the great work undertaken by the ACT government, and by local businesses, organisations and individuals.
"It's time for Canberra to divorce Parliament House."
Dr Paterson said she believed Canberra had all the right attributes and the status would help position the city as an important place to live and visit.
"I think it's really about recognising great cities that are really connected to nature, but also promoting sustainable environmental policies. ... I think we're doing that here already - and so I think this would be a chance to be internationally recognised," she said.
The National Park City Foundation, established in 2017, is working to develop a universal charter for recognised cities.
"A National Park City is a place, a vision and a community. It is a city that is cared for through both formal and informal means to enhance its living landscape," the foundation's working definition says.
"A defining feature is the widespread and significant commitment of residents, visitors and decision-makers to act so people, culture and natural processes provide a foundation for better life."
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