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Wednesday 25 -1 - 2016

Gold Coast Bulletin Cities to bid for Roving Capital

Showcasing face-to-face Democracy BY HANNAH ARENDT STATE POLITICAL EDITOR

The Roving Capital Initiative will reconnect our decision-makers with local communities enabling them to have a say about the way national and international issues affect those communities in place. A failing of a single, fixed national Capital is that the political system (bureaucracy and politicians) becomes removed from the people and the places they


The Australian Government has invited cities and towns across the country to apply to be Australia’s next Capital city in 2030. The successful applicant city will be the first ‘Roving Capital’ under radical reforms to the Australian constitution following the 2012 referendum. The selected city will become home to the Senate and House of Representatives and respective government departments,

plus essential administrative staff, for a period of 15 years, before the Capital moves to another location. The Roving Capital Initiative was developed at the height of the political, economic and environmental crises that engulfed Australia four years ago. It is designed to bring the nation’s decision makers faceto-face with local communities around the country – and see firsthand how these national and global issues impact everyday Australians.

Periodically relocating the federal seat of power is a world first and reflects 21st century ideals of good government. It is hoped that the events leading up to establishing a new Capital would provide an opportunity for reinvigorating public participation in the political sphere. Citizens are encouraged to contact their local council with ideas about how their local region can respond to the the issue of sustainable city design and climate change.

represent. Relocating the national Capital every 15 years can minimise this misalignment by strengthening the connection in several ways: • It brings political decision makers face-to-face, daily, with many issues facing Australians. • It places these decision makers physically closer to the consequences of problems facing communities and the consequences of policies and solutions (good and bad).


The Roving Capital is an opportunity for the nation to focus on dealing with national issues face-to-face. The moving investment will not only support and bolster the local economy but will showcase to the world how we can iteratively innovate to improve our government, our cities, our communities, our environment and our economy.

The process – how will it work? It is a 3 phase process involving all levels of government and an opportunity for all citizens to engage in the ‘big decisions’ through

Exhibitions and the establishment of Capital Ideas Centres around the nation. The consultative process will determine what and when infrastructure is required as well as what legacy will be left behind. The 3 phase process and timeline is illustrated and described below: PHASE 1: selection of national issues


Upper House

PHASE 2: state & cities bid for capital



State Government & Local Council


PHASE 3: shortlist of cities and lottery

Lower House


Phase 1. The Senate debates and selects the issue for national attention and invites states, cities and towns across the country to apply to and respond to those issues by hosting Australia’s next Capital.


Who may be first? BY JO FEDERER Currumbin

Sources inside the Senate suggest that over the next two years, over 20 Local Government Areas will develop submissions to be the first Roving Capital – in particular, each will be responding to issues of sustainable city design and climate change in different ways. Some of the rumoured contenders include:



Phase 2. States and Local Councils bid for the right to be Australia’s next Capital. Phase 3. The House of Representatives will debate and select a shortlist of Capital city locations to be finally determined by a lottery.

Darwin is a strong candidate for showcasing sustainable development in hot dry climates, and is keen to explore the potential for commercial, base-load solar energy generation. Darwin puts forward a compelling argument to bring the nation’s attention onto two of our most significant social issues – improving the quality of life for indigenous Australians and developing a more humane and inclusive response to refugees coming to Australia.

Mildura is tipped to explore ways to improve sustainability for Australia’s many inland regional centres that face unique challenges, compared with Capital and coastal cities. Selecting Mildura as Australia’s next national Capital would also bring decision makers faceto-face with the water crisis in the Murray Darling Basin, the pressures faced by farmers, and the decline of rural communities.

BY HUNTER THOMPSON Canberra, Australia’s first national Capital, is one of the 20th century’s best examples of a planned political Capital. It reflects many of the characteristics of a post-industrial and post-colonial city that sought to establish a common identity for the newly federated states. If Capital cities symbolise national identity, promote national ideals and showcase national culture, then it is reasonable to ask two questions: What might a new national Capital for Australia look like in the 21st century? and how should a 21st century Capital respond to the shifts in the political, economic, social and environmental landscape that occurred over the last century?

In Australia, the multitude of challenges we face have led us to reconsider uses of technology, and virtual communication, and how we will approach the ongoing global financial meltdown, energy and water shortages, climate change, sea level rise, threats to biodiversity, a growing and ageing population, health and human rights crises (particularly for indigenous peoples) and refugees. In response, Australians have resolved to create a roving, issue-based Capital to: • • • •

Solve current problems Be a catalyst for urban renewal Improve the mistakes made Leave behind a positive legacy

National Capitals change over time and place BY CHANDLER VIKI HISTORICAL REPORTER

A national Capital is typically the seat of political power and decision-making and a symbol of national identity.

Currumbin, as part of the larger urban area of the Gold Coast, is ideally placed to highlight the benefits of high speed rail as an alternative to carbon-intensive domestic air travel. It is at the frontline of needing to adapt to a changing climate, in particular sea-level rise. As a growing suburb, Currumbin is also a prime candidate for showcasing sustainable urban planning, with an emphasis on retrofitting buildings, promoting car-free transport and facilitating local food systems.

Why a Roving Capital?

The first decade of the 21st century saw changes that forced Australians to reflect on the kind of identity, culture and ideals they wanted their Capital to reflect. At this time we also started to question the type of political power structures and decision making required to address fundamental questions and issues facing the nation.

Deciding the Capital location and a program of ‘ground up’ events including Capital Ideas Festivals and its attributes The national Capital will be determined by how well a place can respond locally to national issues.

• It forces governments to be more reflexive and flexible - to see how a policy develops and responds on the ground, and enabling reflection and response to the outcomes as they occur. • It directs attention that stimulates ideas and investment, demonstrating innovative solutions to the key problems facing that local community which can be translated and transplanted nationally.

Over the centuries, the attributes of Capital Cities have been integrated with other building blocks of a city. A national Capital has historically been a country’s largest and most populous city and home to a range of political, administrative and legislative agencies (such as heritage, arts, educational and cultural institutions), ceremonial events and economic activity. The national Capital’s power and symbolism were displayed through its built form, with nation-states investing in large iconic buildings and monuments to display wealth and power and national identity. Over time, notions of governance and national identity are defined and re-defined in different places and at different times. Buildings by

themselves do not create a national Capital. The ‘Capitalness’ is derived from the sense of identity and expression invested by its people at a particular point in time. National Capital cities are largely a 19th and 20th century concept. Three quarters of the world’s Capital cities in 2000 were not Capitals in 1900. In fact, throughout history the physical expression of a ‘Capital’ has changed with the rise (and fall) of empires, city-states and then nation-states. It has also changed with the growing urbanisation of the world’s population and changing notions of governance and decision-making. History shows how politics, power and symbolism were expressed in different forms of ‘Capital’. Examples include informal meeting places of tribal cultures, the relocation of medieval courts to different Palaces, and the assembly places of Rome’s direct democracy. More recent forms of ‘Capital’ include the Capital of the European Union, the open decision-making structures in Samoa, and the multiple Capitals of South Africa.


INSIDE 17 February 2023 Volume 30

05 12


Capital Ideas Festival opens

cover story

grassroots design for Capital takes shape


2023: the year of living collaboratively Capital Ideas Centres (CIC)

This year will see renewed drive and energy to deliver Currumbin as the nation’s first Roving Capital. As we head towards 2030 (the first year of the roving Capital) we see this year kick off with another Capital Ideas Festival together with a range of events to begin a new phase in collaboration and consultation.

Place based solutions to national and local problems New bottom-up interaction and decision-making


The first stage of planning the Capital has brought people together to simply talk and discuss their thoughts. Organised festivals will bring people together with music, food, talks and events.These have already been popular nation-wide, with diverse hosts and organisers that range from schools to industry groups, musicians and knitting circles.

domain our pick of 2023’s most efficient homes


The first CICs are currently being established. The CIC’s goal is to organise the ideas, desires and concerns of all Australians for their future capital city. These centres will serve as meeting places based in libraries, town halls,churches, schools and other appropriately retrofitable buildings.

Capital Ideas Festival and Events (CIF/E)

Process results in fun and vibrant decisionmaking


Main tent of the Capital Ideas Festival (CIF)

Marcus Miessen, Mayor of Currumbin, at the Rotating Capital lottery announcement in Canberra on 12 December 2019:

“The community, both nationally and locally, must own their Capital city. It must represent the best aspects and the greatest ideas of the nation and its people. The Capital should inspire the country to achieve, to innovate and to lead as one.”

Ten CICs will be based in Currumbin, with at least one in every major city around Australia to harvest ideas and dialogue from all Australians. As well as establishing a new node of community participation, each Currumbin CIC will be ‘specialised’ in order to tackle a particular issue in a particular location, with experts and industry representatives available at each, and a programme of exhibitions, talks and workshops. Each CIC will also encourage broad discussion on various issues including sustainable city design and climate change.  

Grassroots design for Capital takes shape

The beachside Capital Ideas Centre (CIC) Density Prototypes Zones How to retrofit and sustainably house, employ and feed a city is a key question for Currumbin as the new Capital.

Mangrove Rejuvenation


The first concept designs for a new Capital are taking shape. The new Capital is helping to deliver solutions to localised problems that can benefit the rest of the nation. The Gold Coast is a catalyst for sustainable, appropriately located development and growth. This includes bold moves such as the removal of Coolangatta Airport and the creation of a national healthy parkland along the length of Currumbin River through land acquisition. This has been balanced with early ideas around prototype dwelling and food production zones, localised eco-tourism and world-class transit, including high speed rail, state of the art trams and a bike network.

Capital Ideas Centre (CIC)

The adjacent plan shows some of the most developed ideas.

East Coast High Speed Rail Tram Cycle Route

Current debate has focussed on the style, number and location of the parliament functions to be located in Currumbin. The most radical camp argues that no new infrastructure should be built, instead suggesting that only existing buildings close to the centre of the Gold Coast should be retrofitted. In this scenario parliamentarians would rely heavily on wireless communication negating the need for a new sitting parliament building.

The Currumbin Design Collective (CDC) have identified the opportunity for multiple prototype zones for face-toface innovation and investment. Design briefs for each density prototype have been generated through conversations

with the Mayors of Sydney, Melbourne and Perth as well as some second tier cities. The promised capital investment and new legislative mechanisms that Currumbin now enjoys is seen as a significant opportunity for on-the-ground responsive research and development.

Current opinion polls show that more moderate views have stronger support with 82% of people believing the building of a new cabinet building and offices in an iconic location on the shoreline is appropriate.


Janet Howard formally of Currumbin Riverside

Jaime Skywalker Currumbin South

Piper Greenman Currumbin North

Sam Boxal Sydney

Wendy Candy Currumbin Small Business Owner

I am outraged that this government would consider forcibly acquiring my land for the benefit of a swampy marsh land and some bloody marsupials! My husband and I moved to the Gold Coast to find a place where we can park our boat, our two cars and live in peace. The compensation may be market price, but we aren’t moving to these ridiculous ‘density prototype areas’ without a fight! I’m going straight to the local CIC to report my outrage tomorrow.

I’m thoroughly disappointed in the decision to remove the Gold Coast airport and force us to rely on the under-construction High Speed Rail line. I fly all the time for business and and pleasure, and this is just another stab in the back following those draconian domestic flight restrictions. Sure, I can fly in to Brisbane and take the HSR to Currumbin in 20 minutes and be in my bachelor pad in 30, but I used to be able to fly in and be there in 25!

I just want to congratulate the local and national community on the decision to create the big park down by the river. The places already reclaimed are so beautiful, they totally belong to the people, not just rich homeowners and yachts. The first campground is beautiful, so many different people meeting and talking about the Capital, watching the wildlife that’s come back to the area and just enjoying the space.

Finally we have a government doing something positive for transportation in this country. The High Speed Rail line will mean I can visit my daughter in Currumbin in a couple of hours, without the hassle and inconvenience of a full cavity search at the airport. I for one was very concerned about how a large country like Australia would cope with cutting down air travel, but the HSR has given me great hope. Let’s get it finished!

While I am fully supportive of the Capital program, and have been involved from a very early stage, I am concerned about what the changes to road design mean for my business. Car parking along my street is being drastically reduced, with the area becoming something called a ‘shared space’. My customers like their cars, they want to drive to my shop, buy my goods, and drive away! Why are politicians trying to hurt my business like this?



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Gold Coast

Thursday 27 - 1 - 2030

Australia’s first President tours Roving Capital


Prime Minister Cullen and a selection of the local community, showed President Turnbull around the newly operating, world’s first, Roving Capital City. A packed itinerary (detailed below) saw the President begin his day at the Gathering Circle, visit the People’s Assembly (formerly


Yesterday was an auspicious day in the life of the nation.

parliament) and museum, take a tour of food production at the National Produce Garden, have lunch at the bustling downtown district, inspect the transport hub and finally attend meetings at local government departments, once home to the transport CIC (Capital Ideas Centre).

Capital Camping Ground New Downtown

Capital Boulevard and the National Produce Market

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Capital Boulevard


Capital Boulevard, tram and pedestrian walk Transit Centre

The National Chamber

High Speed Rail

6 5

National Produce Market and Garden


Capital Gathering Circle

4 Cableway


The tour itinerary 1

Meeting at the Gathering Circle 9:00am

Government renews green pledge

Marking the first official reception at the Gathering Circle, the Prime Minister formally welcomed the President to the Capital at the outdoor meeting space by the river, opposite the Welcome Peninsula. A traditional ‘Welcome to Country’ was performed prior to President Turnbull’s short speech, in which he reaffirmed Australia’s commitment to meeting its international carbon targets and renewed dedication to involving decision makers with issues of environmental policy. Further President Turnbull reaffirmed Australia’s desire for continued economic, social and cultural ties with South East Asia and the broader region stating that “a main driver for moving Australia’s capital further north was to reaffirm a continued strong commitment to our northern neighbours.”


A Speech to Parliament 10.30am

Aussies praised for capital creation

The President and Prime Minister walked across the Welcome Bridge to the new Chambers building, stopping in the market to talk to local stall owners. The President addressed parliament, outlining and reaffirming Australia’s commitment to issue-based, direct democracy, and praising national and local communities for coming together to create a true Capital of the people, by the people and for the people. Here the Prime Minister remained, and a selection of the local community and schoolchildren, continued with the tour.


A Wall Against Climate Change 11:15am

Wall walkers face reality of doing nothing

The President made some brief remarks at the Capital Sea Wall, noting sombrely that: “This wall was built to shield Currumbin from the rising of the oceans that we as a global community were able, but not willing, to stop. May it serve as a reminder of the dangers of inaction in the face of difficult and complicated problems to come.”


Capital Sea Wall Arts Centre


Welcome Peninsula

Address to the Currumbin Design Collective 11.30am

The Chamber Government + Ceremonial Town Centre Higher Density Living *

Presidential gratitude for design collective

The President thanked the CDC for their work in creating the Capital. The association includes citizen architects, planners, designers and engineers who spent years working with international experts and the local community, to develop sustainable buildings and spaces that made the Gold Coast the most energy efficient city on earth. At the CDC the President was shown the final broad Concept Plan for the region which highlights how the various land uses and innovative governance, development, produce and recreation areas are interconnected with new high quality transport and best practice infrastructure (see plan right).


The National Produce Garden 12:00pm

Positive shifts to come

A visit to the ‘food bowl’, as its locally known, saw the President and Prime Minister inspect and sample the varieties of food currently grown at the garden. Here the Prime Minister announced a goal to have 50% of Australia’s food produced within 30km of where it is sold by 2040. The National Produce Garden has already inspired a huge return to localised food production, with reports from big supermarkets that community production is beginning to adversely affect their share price. The Prime Minister sharply restated that “in a more positive shift to come we hope to see a role for Australia’s food duopoly to support broad and dispersed regional supply-chains and add to our cross-landscape resilience.”


Going Downtown 12.30pm

Lunch fit for a president

The President dined downtown from a menu of food grown and prepared exclusively within Currumbin. The bustling downtown area saw significant population growth in the lead-up to the Capital’s opening. This was following a slow start over the previous decade and compulsory acquisition of land to be returned to national parks. The area is a popular destination with parliamentarians and bureaucrats seeking lively, apartment style living in close proximity to work.

* Different locations will prototype various densities, typologies, food production, etc

National Produce Garden National Camping Ground Emerging Industry + Innovation Mangrove Rejuvenation Riverside Lower Density Living Natural Landscape Transit Oriented Development East Coast High Speed Rail Cycle Route Tram


A Modern Transport Hub 2.30pm

Full speed ahead

Having arrived by High Speed Rail (HSR) earlier in the morning, the President was given a tour of the multinodal, high tech hub later in the day. Despite initially low patronage, the hub now serves thousands of arrivals and departures by HSR per day, moving efficiently onto the local tram and bus network. The President met with representatives from the Department of Transport to discuss future transport needs in Currumbin.


Visiting Politicians and Ministries 4:00pm

Leaders face up to thriving democracy

The President finally visited several offices in the transport ministry district, utilising the local tram network and even the new bike hire scheme. Many ministry offices already carry a strong history, having been used as locations for Capital Ideas Centres in the decade to 2030. The disparate ministry districts were a long-standing controversial option, as critics argued that they should be in close proximity to each other for efficiency. However the argument which won was for a series of highly digital and sustainably networked buildings that would at the end of this capital rotation, be easily converted into offices, apartments or community buildings. The networked ministries encourage politicians and public servants to really live in and be part of the community. Already more intensive districts are arising around the ministry hubs, forming new communities and identities.

Marianne King Currumbin Downtown

Lesley Williams Currumbin Waters

I thought the photoops were a bit cheesy, but the President spoke well and honestly to the community face to face. I was very happy with the commitment to locally grown food as I’ve just opened the growing supplies store Capital Boulevard! I was happy both the Prime Minister and the President seemed interested in our concerns about the lack of rain and its affects on the local food production.

I’m a bit disappointed, when we won the lottery I was expecting we’d get some beautiful grand buildings into Currumbin but otherwise it’d stay about the same! But things have been much more gradual, and now there’s just a lot more people living in apartments! I’m not too happy about all these young people cycling around either. I am enjoying the local fruit and vege though, they’re much better than the supermarket stuff.

I am very pleased to pass on our heartiest congratulations to Australia from the people of Indonesia. We were skeptical of the Roving Capital Initiative when it was first announced, but I have informed our President of the progress being made in sustainable city design evident in Currumbin. We were pleased to have involvement in the design of our new Embassy here, and we hope the very Indonesian design serves the local community well after 2045. I personally thanked the Australian President today for his remarks about moving the Capital towards Indonesia and was grateful for his expression of friendship associated with this. Ambassador to Indonesia, the Honourable Mr Sudoyono

We are happy Australia is becoming a greater part of the South East Asian region.” 503f2c

Gold Coast Bulletin 22 January 2040

COMMENT & DEBATE Looking back on 10 years as Australia’s first Roving Capital and forward to the future of Currumbin BY SCOTT LEE


oday Australians celebrated Currumbin’s tenth anniversary as the world’s first Roving Capital city.

On this anniversary creators, contributors and citizens reflect on the vision for the first of the nation’s Roving Capitals. The vision was for an issue-based, resilient, inclusive, democratically-directed, community created, Capital that inspires and serves as an example for towns and cities across Australia.

The Roving Capital Initiative was introduced early this century when Australians sought a new era of government. The nation succeeded by delivering its first and vibrant Roving Capital in Currumbin, Queensland Currumbin is now one of four roving Capitals worldwide. Currumbin started as a place that chose to be, and is now, forever changed. As a demonstration for towns and cities across Australia, the process of 20 years (since the first announcement) has taught us much about successful sustainable city design. However, one last question remains: Will Currumbin

crumble as a relic Capital or remain a vibrant self-sufficient city? From day one, community-led, bottom-up design considered this legacy. Do we remain confident that once its turn is over and the responsibility of democracy passed on, Currumbin will continue to prosper as a vibrant city in its own right - and grow in ways we consider to be sustainable? Passing one decade of the issuebased Capital we reflect on where we have been and ask where we are yet to go.

Legacy of the Capital - a plan for the future Welcome Peninsula Culture & Learning Town Centre Higher Density Living * * Different locations will prototype various densities, typologies, food production, etc

National Produce Garden National Camping Ground Emerging Industry + Innovation Mangrove Rejuvenation Riverside Lower Density Living Natural Landscape Transit Oriented Development East Coast High Speed Rail Cycle Route Tram


The Currumbin Design Collective’s submission for the legacy masterplan includes little surprises. In many ways it describes a business-asusual projection of Currumbin but without the politicians. Density prototype zones will continue to grow and connect. Ministry Districts are projected to continue as Activity Districts that will be supported through a series of incubator programmes and the development of a number of education institutions. The most significant change is a further increase in the area of National Parkland with the Capital Camping Ground set to increase by 20%, integrating a number of buildings adjacent to The Chamber. As planned into the original architectural design of The Chamber, the complex is to be converted into a Performing and Fine Arts Centre on the Capital Sea Wall. Notably no control on sprawl has yet been agreed upon.

Up Next: Alice Springs! BY JACQUI LONG In tomorrow’s Comment & Debate, Currumbin Design Collective

President Amos Rappoport reviews the current planning process and early design ideas for the next Roving Capital, Alice Springs. With planning well underway including frequent digital meetings between Currumbin and Alice Springs, the complex challenge and responsibility of creating a sustainable legacy is being met. The Red Centre Capital provokes a series of very difficult questions about health, social equality and reconciliation.


Are we achieving what we set out to achieve? BY RUPERT AUGER OPINION


n 2016, shortly after China issued its famous CO2 per capita ultimatum to the world, the Australian Senate selected sustainable city design and climate change as the focal issues of the first Roving Capital. Currumbin ‘dreamed a dream’: “Maybe we could build an environmentally sustainable capital.” - But did Australians really believe that ten years on, Currumbin would also hold its own with economic, social and cultural powerhouses like Melbourne and Sydney?

Today, Currumbin and the Gold Coast boast headquarters for larger finance, technology and resource companies and smaller businesses have thrived. The growth of the region has gone beyond all expectations. It is undeniable that many are attracted by a mix of the region’s livability, climate, educated populace, generous national parkland, state of the art public transport and high speed rail connections. Now recognised internationally for sustainable models of transport, density and urban life, the city has improved air quality and the health of its citizens without losing the unique identity and character, so highly valued by locals. We are fitter and healthier than we were in 2020, and notably a lot wiser.

power of innovation that the most dense prototype zones now see the highest property value increases and the lowest per capita energy consumption. With five years to go as a Capital, Currumbin faces some very real challenges. It is an expensive city to live in, which forced out a large section of the community. While social housing programs are underway, many argue it is too little too late. The Senate’s decision to focus the next Capital on addressing the growing social inequalities in Australian cities, in many ways responds directly to some of Currumbin’s less successful ventures.

Another challenge is managing the transition from Roving Capital status to ‘city’ as population and demand for services threaten to decline. No-one is denying that ‘a dip’ is inevitable. Initial strategies include a staged program of increased social housing provision, increasing the city’s intake of climate refugees, regional tourism promotions and incentive programs for local businesses. Already Ministry offices and buildings are becoming self-sustaining districts of activity. It is planned that these buildings will eventually be incubators for future small businesses that continue to sustain these areas.

The region’s carbon output area is the lowest in Australia – achieved with localised energy generation programs, solar subsidies and trigeneration plants. In addition, the airport was replaced with high speed rail, a tram line, walking trails and bike paths. Density and urban food production prototyping has made the region a global pin-up for city dwelling design, but whether other Australian cities have the will and courage to learn from Currumbin’s wisdom is yet to be seen. Many agree that a lesson for the next Capital is certainly to work on ‘nationalising’ locally produced solutions.

Critics say that when the politicians leave, so will the force behind Currumbin’s success, but this dire vision seems more and more unlikely. The city has been on a path of powerful growth throughout the past 20 years in full knowledge of what the Roving Capital Initiative promises.Yes; the focus of the nation will move on, but the local, regional and national businesses here have established themselves in ways that seem long-standing and wellintegrated. With or without the seat of power, Currumbin, it seems, will be a sustainable, prosperous city when the exit strategy bears fruit. Entrenching this further is its connection to Asia which has brought together the people of Currumbin and many South East Asian nations, resulting in significant economic investment.

Significantly, Currumbin’s population has grown and pushed Gold Coast’s population to 1.5 million people, yet transition to capital status was not without hiccups. Population numbers fell when land was reclaimed and disgruntled residents moved out. Initially housing demand outstripped supply (though this was soon resolved by the development of density prototype zones). It is a testament to the

The first Roving Capital achieved the model’s goal of direct, issue-based, face-to-face democracy. It inspired our leaders and communities to achieve things we never could from Canberra. As we look to Roving Capital number 2 (Alice Springs) we must critically remember that each Capital has the potential to be better than the last and that solving problems with pride, initiative and resilience is an iterative process. 503f2c