In response to the Australian capital's "...lack of a sufficiently large, high quality, secure venue that can be locked down without disrupting the city, as well as a lack of sufficient accommodation of a suitably high standard" a proposal was announced on 11 April 2011 for a $328 million complex in what is now Acton park on the shore of the Western basin of Lake Burley Griffin. The complex would include a plenary hall catering for up to 3000, a purpose designed Centre for Dialogue, a ballroom, large exhibition space, restaurants, bars, five-star hotel and associated parking. The centre is expected to be able to securely host political dialogue meetings such as the G20 or CHOGM as well as trade conferences. Whilst the announcement of the plan was received with broad, though not unanimous, approval it was noted in the Canberra Times's supportive editorial that the community rarely embraces such ideas usually for reason of public expenditure or vague public benefit. It was also noted that the Government might also be liable for substantial environmental rehabilitation costs before construction could begin.
In March 2010 the Steering Committee for the "Australia Forum Scoping Study" was announced subsequent to several previously rejected proposals. The Australian Capital Territory government invested $500,000 in 2010 for the scoping study and in April 2011 agreed to allocate a further $1 million for technical studies. The committee consists of:
- Professor Peter Shergold, former head of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (Chair)
- Dr Dawn Casey, Director, Powerhouse Museum and formerly Director, National Museum of Australia
- Professor Ian Chubb, AC, Vice Chancellor, Australian National University
- General Peter Cosgrove, AC, MC Chair of the Australian War Memorial Council
- Ms Virginia Haussegger, ABC News presenter
- Mr Rupert Myer, AM, Chairman of the National Gallery of Australia
- "Need and Benefits". Australia Forum. 11 April 2011. Retrieved 11 April 2011.
- Ireland, Judith (11 April 2011). "City's waterside vision revealed". Canberra Times. Archived from the original on 15 April 2011. Retrieved 11 April 2011.
- Ireland, Judith (12 April 2011). "Mixed feelings over $327m complex". Canberra Times. Retrieved 16 April 2011.
- "Australia Forum would be an asset". Canberra Times. 14 April 2011. Retrieved 16 April 2011.
- "$328m complex 'home for national conversation'". ABC News. 11 April 2011. Retrieved 11 April 2011.
- "Australia Forum". Canberra Business Council. 11 April 2011. Archived from the original on 14 April 2011. Retrieved 11 April 2011.