Canberra has a population of 358,000, making it the eighth-largest city in Australia and the largest inland city in the nation. Canberra offers a number of job opportunities, particularly in the public service. This explains why the employment rate in the city is low compared with other cities in the nation. As the capital of the nation, Canberra has a good transportation system and road networks. The city is known for its cultural and entertainment facilities.
As the federal seat of government, Canberra is the centre of employment opportunities within the region. The unemployment rate is lower than the average for Australia with a rate of 3.9 per cent. The major industries in the city are government administration and defence. The city is the head office for all federal government departments and agencies.
A number of defence industries are located in or near Canberra. Two of the most important are:
This is a communication centre for the navy and the head of administration for all navy personnel in the city. There is now a separate command for the communication function of the base, which is still located in Harman. There are also other defence bases that are based in Harman, including:
- Two Army Reserve units
- Defence information systems and communications
- Australian naval cadet units
Australian Defence Force headquarters
This organisation is in charge of Australia’s defence forces. It comprises many tri-service units and is the military headquarters of the army, navy and air force. There are a number of civilian agencies as well as the Department of Defence. The Australian Defence Force has about 81,000 personnel and active military reservists working full-time. Although the various defence facilities are relatively small, they are technologically sophisticated.
A number of software vendors are based in Canberra, including:
Engineering is booming in the city and is a great source of employment. There are different types of engineering roles available including:
- Civil engineering
- Mechanical engineering
- Software engineering
- Network engineering
Medical and healthcare industries are also doing well in Canberra, providing jobs for medical personnel such as doctors, nurses, administrators and accountants. There are two main public hospitals in the city. Canberra Hospital has about 600 beds while the Calvary Public Hospital in Bruce has 174 beds. Canberra also has a number of private hospitals, which include:
- Calvary John James Hospital, in Deakin (the largest among them)
- Healthscope’s National Capital Private Hospital, Garran
- Calvary Private Hospital, Bruce
Canberra also has many other medically related facilities, such as aged care.
Canberra has many convenient transport options including:
- The most popular means of transport in Canberra is the car and the city is well serviced by highways and suburban roads. However, the layout of the city is such that these roads sometimes lead to areas that are yet not developed. In many cases this has been done so that future development has a good road infrastructure already in place.
- There are parkways that connect the major centres in Canberra. A good example is the Tuggeranong Parkway which connects Tuggeranong and Canberra’s CBD and the bypass Weston Creek. In most places in the city, non-local traffic is prevented from entering residential areas. This is done by linking the main arterial roads to the residential suburbs. Government and private buses operate throughout the city.
- Canberra does not have a commuter rail system with local railway services not being considered economically viable. However, there are interstate railway services connecting Canberra with Sydney and Melbourne.
- Canberra has an international airport that provides domestic flights to cities like Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth. The airport does not have regular direct international flights.
Leisure and convenience
As the seat of government, Canberra features many places of interest and convenience. Many national monuments and institutions are located in the city, including:
- National Archives
- National Portrait Gallery
- Australian War Memorial
- Australian Academy of Science
- National Library
- National Gallery of Australia
Many buildings housing federal government departments and institutions are accessible to the public. Some of these include:
- The High Court
- Parliament House
- Royal Australian Mint
There are many other places of interest in the city. If you are interested in sport, you can visit any of the many sporting venues. The largest stadium in the city is the Canberra Stadium where some of the events of the 2000 Olympics were held.
Canberra is a good place to live and the city’s industries create employment, the good road networks make movement easy and the recreational facilities and places of interest provide world-class leisure and entertainment.