Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2013 Week 4 Hansard (20 March) . . Page.. 1167..
the view of the majestic Brindabellas, they like their fresh air, they like the outdoor lifestyle, they like beautiful, crisp, sunny winter days and the beautiful colours of autumn. Canberrans love Canberra simply because it is home.
The list goes on. It refers to our national attractions and our unique events like Floriade, which topped the list. Visitors to our city, via the innovative human brochure campaign, have already told us what they like about Canberra. Two hundred and fifty active social media users were brought to Canberra for a weekend late last year. Another 250 were in town last month to experience some of the best of what Canberra has to offer. These visits have been an amazing success and for weeks following the visits, the tweeting, Facebook posts and blogs continued to compliment our city.
In January, one of the biggest legacy projects of our centenary year kicked off, the opening of the National Arboretum, and I would acknowledge that the commonwealth made a significant contribution to the arboretum. It is not just the $6 million that had been provided for programs, they did provide $20 million for the arboretum as part of their centenary gift for Canberra. That will certainly be acknowledged through the visitors centre and, indeed, when the new pavilion and the playground open in the next couple of months.
Already we have seen, in the first month that the arboretum was open, over 42,000 visitors coming through the gates, thousands coming from overseas, international visitors—not just for the arboretum but it is certainly on the radar of international tourists. We are also seeing very good bookings, very strong bookings, for the facilities at the arboretum. I visit the arboretum frequently as a walker and with my family, and it is fantastic to see the arboretum busy with cyclists, runners, families. I was there last Thursday night. Families were unpacking their picnics at about 6 o'clock in the evening on Dairy Farmers Hill. Previously, it was not a place that the public could access. It is so great to see it being so strongly supported by the community.
The centenary loop bus, ACTION's route 100, which Mr Smyth was cheekily trying to ask a question about earlier during question time, has also been a positive program, introduced in early February. Last Saturday, for example, more than 700 people jumped on board the service. We are continuing to see patronage levels increase on that. We have only funded it till the end of the year because we wanted to see whether all the talk that a free bus service, on a regular frequency, going around the parliamentary triangle, would be well patronised and supported by tourists across the city but also by public servants in Barton. We are assessing that this year with this trial but the patronage numbers are going up.
Of course last week we had the foundation stone ceremony, and I think everyone who was there acknowledged what a fantastic event that was, to recreate an event that happened 100 years ago but also to celebrate and toast the city that we have become. For me, there are probably a couple of stand-out events, apart from the actual birthday or the big day at the lake and they have been the parties at the shops. I saw Mr Doszpot last Friday at Lyneham and I think he also went to the Yarralumla one. He spoke about that.