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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1993 Week 08 Hansard (Thursday, 19 August 1993) . . Page.. 2549 ..

Ministerial Statement

Debate resumed from 25 March 1993, on motion by Ms Follett:

That the Assembly takes note of the paper.

MR WESTENDE (4.46): Mr Deputy Speaker, we on this side generally endorse the Chief Minister's complimentary remarks about the ACT tourism industry in her ministerial statement on the advisory board of the ACT Tourism Commission. I have some personal knowledge to doubt the commercial expertise of one appointment to the board, and I will reserve my judgment on that appointment. However, not wishing to waste the time of the Assembly, I shall not dwell on that matter, especially considering the importance of tourism to this Territory.

There is no doubt that there have been some star performances in the industry in recent times, especially within the ACT, and this has brought some lifesaving stimulus to the local economy. It highlights the significance of tourism to the ACT. I was therefore pleased to hear the Chief Minister say that neither the Government nor the industry is complacent about the favourable trends. I am sure that the advisory board of the ACT Tourism Commission can play an important role in homing in on the issues that need to be addressed in order for the industry to go from strength to strength. My only concern is that there is a danger of boards and committees doing a lot of talking, producing a lot of reports and getting bogged down with paperwork.

While I have no doubt about the quality of the discussions and reports that will emanate from the advisory board, knowing most of the representatives on the board fairly well, I believe that its credibility will be reflected in how quickly it can make recommendations to the Government and then how quickly the Government can respond. If we are to take advantage of the opportunities, we certainly do not want to be sitting around pondering about it for too long. I am not saying that this will be the case with this advisory board, but there is a tendency with various organisations for this to occur.

There are certain things where we need simply to bite the bullet and get on with it. I believe that the Government has more than enough expertise at its disposal in terms of the tourism industry. There is the Canberra Visitor Attractions Association, the Australian Hotels Association, the Canberra Visitor and Convention Bureau, the Meetings Industry Association, the Canberra Accommodation Industry Association, and the recently formed Canberra region chapter of the Australian Tourism Industry Association. There is the Canberra region campaign and, of course, the Assembly Standing Committee on Tourism and ACT Promotion. There are plenty of organisations and people talking about tourism in this Territory.

We have a simple objective with tourism in the ACT. We have to get people outside Canberra to talk about Canberra as a wonderful place in which to spend a few days, and we have to make them welcome when they come and look after them with the highest standards of service. If the advisory board can achieve this end, it will be a job well done. It has the qualifications and expertise to achieve this. In closing, let me congratulate the members of the board on their appointment, and I wish them productive and successful years.

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