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Last Updated: Tuesday, 26 February 2008, 00:35 GMT
Rudd plans summit on 2020 vision
By Nick Bryant
BBC News, Sydney

Kevin Rudd with Aboriginal woman 13.02.08
Kevin Rudd wants talks on the future of Australia's communities
Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has revealed plans for a summit to discuss challenges facing Australia.

He is calling it the 2020 summit, which will be held in Canberra in April.

One thousand people have been invited to participate in the two-day event, including businessmen, academics and opposition politicians and a film star.

They will discuss a range of issues, from saving rural communities to building sustainable cities.

Film actress Cate Blanchett has also been asked to chair a committee.

Since becoming Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd has set out to modernise Australia - a country that is surprisingly backward when it comes to things like broadband speeds and major infrastructure projects.

To that end, he wants to bring together 1,000 of the country's best and brightest brains for two days of discussion in Canberra to set a vision for the future.

Hollywood role

There will be talks on whether the country's federal system, with power divided between Canberra and the states, offers the best model of government; discussions on the needs of the digital economy; and on the future of rural communities currently suffering the effects of the worst drought in 100 years.

Because Mr Rudd wants to make this a truly national forum, which transcends partisan politics, he has invited a number of leading opposition politicians to chair some of the 10 committees.

Schools are also being urged to conduct their own summits, to nurture a sense of common endeavour.

He has also sought to sprinkle the gathering with the glitter of Hollywood celebrity. Film actress Cate Blanchett will chair a discussion group with the theme "towards a creative Australia".



SEE ALSO
Australia apology to Aborigines
13 Feb 08 |  Asia-Pacific

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