12 March 2024

WA to open an embassy ... sorry, hub in Canberra

| Andrew McLaughlin
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The Barton hub will be close to the parliamentary triangle and many federal departments and agencies. Photo: Region.

The West Australian Government says it will soon open a ”hub” near Canberra’s parliamentary triangle aimed at giving the state a base in Canberra.

Set to open on 27 March, the hub will be in Brisbane Avenue in Barton, close to Parliament House and many of the country’s major federal departments and agencies.

The $150,000 hub will provide a home for WA in the nation’s capital and is a critical part of the State Government’s new Canberra Strategy to ensure WA’s interests are at the heart of the Federal Government’s agenda.

The office will be staffed by a full-time receptionist and will provide a space for in-person meetings. It incorporates an open working space and meeting rooms, and has been designed to showcase WA’s diverse landscape.

It will facilitate collaboration with the Federal and State and Territory governments, and is available for use by peak bodies, WA industry, not-for-profits and advocacy organisations.

To this end, last August the WA Government called for expressions of interest from these organisations to be able to access the hub when it opens for business.

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The hub will also support a new way of working with east coast counterparts, help to champion WA’s priorities, enhance relationships and improve outcomes for all West Australians.

WA Opposition and Nationals Leader Shane Love has regularly challenged the reasoning for the hub, claiming in February that Premier Roger Cook had to open an “embassy in our own country” because the Premier had failed to get the state’s 14 federal MPs to represent its interests.

And last August, Mr Love said: “In the midst of a cost-of-living crisis, WA Labor’s focus should be on the people of Western Australia, not on spending money to outsource the responsibilities of the government to an embassy in Canberra.”

On 7 March, Premier Cook said Western Australia was the powerhouse of the Australian economy, and the state had a unique opportunity to influence the national agenda.

“We want to put WA front and centre on the national stage, at all levels, with the sole aim of improving outcomes for all Western Australians,” he said.

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“The Canberra Hub provides a physical space where WA can leverage opportunities, raise awareness and promote our interests and priorities.

“It’s a key part of my government’s commitment to ensuring WA’s voice is heard loud and clear in Canberra, and always doing what’s right for WA.”

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