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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 9 Hansard (17 September) . .

Page.. 2886..

We all know that tourism is a really important sector for the ACT. It has been well spoken of this evening. I think that challenges remain for us across a whole range of areas. I could speak about the whole accommodation spectrum, even the low-cost accommodation, which I know we have discussed before in this place, and the necessity for that.

Certainly stepping into the role as the Minister for Sport and Recreation, I am very keen for that portfolio to continue to drive tourism in Canberra. I am particularly supportive of high participation in sporting and recreation events that come to the city, particularly over the summer period when parliament is in recess and many of our hotels and those in the hospitality sector really struggle for business. It is a great time of year to host events in the ACT.

It is just one area of particular interest to me. But right across the sector, we must continue to strive to boost our tourism industry so that we can not only bring those economic benefits to our city, but also, as the national capital, share that national capital with our fellow Australians and with international visitors. It is not just about our own interests here; it is about our responsibilities as that national city to make sure that the rest of the country comes in and enjoys this wonderful city.

So with those few brief remarks, I will be supporting Mr Barr's amendment this evening.

MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (6.44): The minister opened with the statement that he was not surprised. That is the whole point. We knew that we had a big year. Last year in the centenary something like $30 million was spent on programs. There was question that I was asking even in 2012 that in many ways was answered in December 2012, when the minister had set up a task force to look at what would happen post centenary. But that is the whole point: what was the follow up? What was the preparation for the post centenary year. The answer, I think, is perhaps lacking. Yes, there are some events coming, but there are always some events. I acknowledge that it will be a big year for cricket, so the cricket buffs will be very pleased. Yes, the lights are welcome.

I might, as a sidebar, suggest that we all say thank you to Neale Guthrie, who has just retired from Territory Venues and Events. I think we will all miss you, Neale.

But that is the point. The minister, at the end of his speech said "not matched for a decade". Again, that is the point. The previous high-water mark was about 2003. We had had 2000 with the Olympics in Sydney, 2001, 2002 and 2003 were all quite strong, but there is a decline after 2003 and it is not until we get back to those highs, until 2013.

Again, that is the point. Will we only have a high-water mark every 10 years or can we actually take seriously what tourism research has said and start addressing some of the issues? Really, this is only the summary document; I assume that the minister has access to the full document and that he will read it and look at how we can capitalise on some of the work that has been done independently for us. There are many

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