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‘More than Parliament House’: calls for Canberra to become National Park City

Local MLA Marisa Paterson wants Canberra to “divorce” the house on the hill and instead apply to be internationally recognised as a National Park City.

A Member for Murrumbidgee, Dr Paterson said she was “dismayed” by recent media coverage of Canberra’s sustainability honour paired with photos of Parliament House, and wants to push Canberra’s landscape, nature and green credentials on an international scale.

“We are more than Parliament House,” she said. “And the policies and actions that contribute to our sustainability do not arise from federal politics or from the house on the hill.

“Canberra offers an unparalleled intersect between urban living and natural environments. We have some incredibly inspiring groups, individuals, businesses and organisations already doing great work in this space.” 

Currently, London is the world’s only National Park City, named so in 2019. A handful of other cities, Adelaide included, are vying to be named as such too, by the National Park City Foundation. .

The Foundation says National Park Cities recognise the value of urban life, habitats, landscapes, people and culture, and “in short, they will make life better for people and wildlife”.

Dr Paterson said World Environment Day this Saturday 5 June is the time to reflect on the importance of Canberra’s green spaces, urban forest canopy and tree cover, “all of which are going to become increasingly critical as the ACT continues to work on our climate action agenda”.

“National Park City status for Canberra would add credentials to our marketing campaigns, our sense of identity, place and pride. It would challenge us to further our aspirations to be a national leader on climate action.”

Dr Paterson has called on the ACT Government to gauge the level of support for the idea.

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