Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 6 Hansard (8 June) . . Page.. 2021..
MR MULCAHY: Of course, things cannot be improved, because Mr Corbell is impervious to change and will not listen to any suggested improvements. Millions of dollars have been generated by tourism. As mentioned earlier by Mr Smyth, a visitor spends on average some $290 on a visit. Simple maths dictates that if 200,000 fewer people come to the territory, the ACT will be deprived of $59 million. The tragedy is that the Chief Minister says, "That is just out of business. Only the businesspeople would benefit from the $59 million."That shows a complete lack of understanding of the economic process. He fails to understand that, if business is buoyant, the economy is buoyant and people are employed. None of these things seems to be appreciated in this rather simplistic approach to the tourism industry. I do not know what the tourism industry has done to have such a proposition inflicted on it. It tends to be a bit of a heartland for the Labor Party, but I think that they have managed to lose the friends that they had.
MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (10.02): Mr Speaker, the Chief Minister threw down the challenge earlier in saying that we are always comparing ourselves with Victoria. I would like to remind him that it was Mr Barr who brought up Victoria and was responded to.
Mr Stefaniak: He is not here.
MR SMYTH: Yes, I note that the Chief Minister is not here and I am tempted to use the latest tourism slogan of the federal government-"where the bloody hell are you?"-because this is a very important issue. To pack up his bongos and hide upstairs, to bolt, to run away, to leave the scene of the crime show exactly what the Chief Minister thinks of the tourism industry. He just does not care. I suspect that it is from ignorance because he does not understand how important tourism is to the ACT.
Let us go to the other end of the scale. Mr Barr brought up Victoria and the figure of $8 a head. Let's go to the Northern Territory. The Northern Territory spends what looks like about $185 per capita from this chart that we are taking from the summary document of the Costello functional review. Offhand, the population of the Northern Territory is about 201,767 at 30 June 2005-I thank the clerks for their work in getting me that figure-and 201,767 times $185 is about $37 million. They spend double what we spend on tourism. Why? It is because they get the return from it. They understand the importance of it and they are quite willing to put out the call "where the bloody hell are you?"because they know that it brings prosperity and revenue to the government and promotes where they live and that that is good because it provides jobs.
Mr Barr: You will never, never know.
MR SMYTH: You will never, never know because you will never, never go, Mr Barr; I am quite sure that is true. It is interesting to go to the other extreme. The small jurisdictions have to spend more to compete. It is unfortunate, but that is the reality. Which state is the second biggest spender? It is Tasmania, which has a population of 450,000. But it has to overcome another hurdle, not just the one of getting people to Australia but of getting them across from the mainland to Tasmania. Tasmania understands the difficulties and promotes itself to overcome them.