Prime Minister Julia Gillard today announced that the Commonwealth Government will contribute $20 million over four years to the development of the National Arboretum in Canberra to mark the upcoming Centenary of Canberra in 2013.
The Prime Minister joined Member for Canberra Gai Brodtmann, Member for Fraser Andrew Leigh and ACT Chief Minister Jon Stanhope at the Arboretum to plant a tree grown from seeds taken from the ‘Tree of Knowledge’ in Barcaldine, Queensland, before its death after being vandalised in 2006.
Australian Labor Party folklore identifies the tree as the place where the Party was founded.
The planting joins several trees planted by world dignitaries and Australian icons in the Arboretum’s Central Valley, including most recently the former Prime Minister of Australia, Malcolm Fraser and former Governor General, Major General Michael Jeffery.
The National Arboretum, when completed, will join the other national institutions in Canberra which enrich the lives of the city and the nation.
The Prime Minister said it is particularly appropriate for the Commonwealth Government to mark the Centenary of Canberra, a capital of which all Australians can be proud, with a gift that will benefit both the people of Canberra and the Australian community as a whole.
It will not only become a national education, research and tourist resource but symbolises the journey of renewal for the people of Canberra as the forests replace the landscape scarred by the 2003 bushfires.
Mr Stanhope said today’s planting represented the growing national importance of the Arboretum.
“The ACT Government's vision for the Arboretum is to create a unique and lasting legacy for Canberra and the Australian community,” Mr Stanhope said.
“By its official opening in 2013 to mark the centenary of Canberra, the Arboretum will showcase 100 forests of rare and endangered species from across the globe, as well as a mosaic of permanent gardens.”
The Prime Minister encouraged all Australians to participate in the centenary celebrations in 2013.
“The celebrations will give people the opportunity to discover the many things that Canberra has to offer and to appreciate its beauty and distinctive character”.