Brendan Smyth to be CBR’s first commissioner for international engagement

Released 15/07/2016

Brendan Smyth MLA will be appointed as Canberra’s first commissioner for international engagement, as our city further builds its international profile ahead of international flights starting in September.

Mr Smyth’s record of service to the ACT, including 18 years in the ACT Legislative Assembly and a year in the Federal Parliament, means he is eminently qualified for the new role. His senior ministerial experience and a track record of representing the capital overseas, including being part of establishing Canberra’s sister city relationship with Beijing, will be directly relevant to the commissioner’s role in maintaining our relationships with key international cities. This is particularly important as we look to capitalise on direct flights to Singapore and Wellington.

The commissioner will get to work immediately on finalising the strategy governing Canberra’s international engagement. This international plan will focus our efforts to build enduring international relationships, supporting jobs and cultural exchange.

No city of 400,000 people ever prospered by selling to itself. The future prosperity of the ACT relies on our success in developing our export markets overseas and attracting international investment.

Canberra companies have already achieved a great deal and our export story is a positive one, but there is much more work still to do and with international flights about to take off, now is the perfect time to fill this important role and focus our international activity.

In this role, I’ve no doubt Mr Smyth will add greatly to the government’s ability to ensure Canberra’s economic, social and cultural exchanges with our friends overseas produce real and lasting benefits for our city and our region.

Mr Smyth will formally start in the role on Monday 1 August.

The ACT Government has worked hard on international engagement over the past three years. This has led to a rapid increase in exports, growth in the ACT’s tertiary education sector, increased foreign investment and more in international visitors to Canberra.

The commissioner will work with Canberra’s education and research institutions to promote Canberra as an education and investment destination.

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