Page 1591 - Week 06 - Wednesday, 2 June 2021

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maternal and child health services available in Coombs will be the same as would have been available if they had moved back into the Weston Creek community health centre.

MRS JONES: Minister, where have those maternal and child health services been supplied from whilst the one in Weston Creek has been closed?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I will take that question on notice and come back. I have a recollection, but I am not sure that it is accurate. I do not want to provide the wrong answer, so I will double-check and come back to the Assembly.


DR PATERSON: My question is to the Minister for Tourism. Chief Minister, can you please update the Assembly on how the ACT government is supporting Canberra’s tourism sector as it recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic?

MR BARR: I thank Dr Paterson for the question. I am pleased to advise that tourism in the ACT is recovering strongly after being clearly one of the hardest hit industries through the pandemic. The ACT government continues to support the industry to attract more visitors to Canberra which, in turn, supports local jobs. We have an ambitious goal of returning the ACT’s annual visitor spend back to $2½ billion in 2022. The investments that the government has made in partnership with the tourism sector are working, with more people visiting Canberra.

Our commercial accommodation occupancy level reached 73.2 per cent in April, just above the national average that sits at just 60 per cent. This resurgence is due, in large part, to the ACT’s considered and decisive health and economic responses to the pandemic. We have also undertaken a very significant program of co-investment with the tourism sector through the COVID-safe tourism program. So far we have supported 15 tourism businesses to create new visitor experiences and we have established a tourism cooperative marketing fund to support local operators to create new campaigns to attract visitors to Canberra.

Of course, cheaper flights more often mean more people travelling to Canberra. So we have invested in initiatives to support the recovery of Canberra’s aviation sector, and we have done so in partnership with Canberra Airport.

DR PATERSON: Chief Minister, how have investments and partnerships helped bolster the aviation sector, including the number of flights travelling to and from Canberra?

MR BARR: Remarkably, we are now better connected within Australia than we have ever been in the history of the territory. For the first time in more than a decade, the ACT has direct flights either in operation or scheduled to every Australian capital city. As of last month, Canberra Airport was operating more than 300 flights a week, which is around 85 per cent of the pre-COVID flight levels.

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