[Overview] The Australian Capital Territory (ACT), the political center of Australia, consists of Canberra, the capital city, and surrounding areas. Located in the southeast of the country, the ACT covers an area of 2,358 square kilometers and is home to a population of 420,900.
[Politics] The ACT has a local parliament, generally known as the Legislative Assembly, which has 25 members. Being a unique local parliament, the Legislative Assembly performs the functions of state parliament (e.g. education and healthcare) as well as those of city councils (e.g. garbage management). The ACT government is headed by the chief minister selected by the Legislative Assembly for a term of four years. The incumbent chief minister Andrew Barr came into office in October 2016.
[Economy] The ACT is where the federal parliament and government departments are based, and the major industries here include administrative service, construction and education.
[Culture and Education] The ACT boasts rich educational resources. It is home to a number of prestigious universities, including the Australian National University, University of Canberra, Canberra Institute of Technology and Australian Defence Force Academy. The Australian Academy of Science, Royal Military College and other research institutes as well as the National Library of Australia and National Gallery of Australia are also based in the ACT.
[Relations with Beijing] Beijing and the ACT established a sister-city relationship on September 14, 2000. Since then the two sides have worked together fruitfully in such areas as public facilities and culture.
Public Facilities: In November 2014, the Beijing Garden, a project sponsored by Beijing in the ACT, was completed. This garden merges China's traditional architectural elements with the local environment, and perfectly embodies the concept of “man at one with nature” valued by classical Chinese gardening. The project has become a window to showcase the Chinese culture and an eternal witness to the friendship between the two countries and the two capital cities.
Culture: During the Australian National Multicultural Festival held in the ACT in February 2006, the Beijing Modern and Contemporary Dance Company staged a dance show called “Impression of Beijing.” In 2014, Beijing held an exhibition in the ACT that demonstrated classical Chinese gardens imbued with traditional cultural charm. In February 2015, Beijing Municipal Bureau of Culture held the Happy Spring Festival concert in the ACT.