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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 6 Hansard (22 June) . . Page.. 2303..


Ms MacDonald: Oh, diddums!

MR SPEAKER: I think you should withdraw that.

Mr Stanhope: I withdraw it, Mr Speaker.

MR WOOD: On Monday last week I went from Leeds to Sunderland-not a place on any tourist route, I might say. But it does have a world-renowned glass centre. In light of the fact that we are doing the same here, it was a must see. The various lessons did not come off the internet-none of them. So I will get a bit detailed. We arrived at the station, but there was no public transport to this centre, so we had to get a cab. There is a message for us here. We have got a good transport system to our glass centre, and I am sure it will only get better. Access is obviously a thing of utmost importance.

On arrival at the centre we were met by the acting director and the maintenance manager, who discussed issues around the building. They were very open and frank. They told us all the problems of the building-not on the internet. We had to talk to them about it, and we found out about those things. We went through the place, and we learnt, point to point, the issues they faced, which were precisely the sorts of issues we faced. For example, we want visitors to go through; they want visitors to go through. They discovered that communicating with visitors in a noisy environment was a problem; we will have to think about how we communicate with a lot of noise going on.

There are issues of pollution. Work safety issues were very significant. Issues about informing the public were very significant. None of those were on the internet. Another issue was viability-a key issue for us. We worked through a business plan very methodically. We must be careful to avoid the problem they had: good visitor numbers in the first year and then decline afterwards-something that we never found out on the internet. By personal contact, we found all these things.

I learnt a great deal about issues related to and problems in setting up the centre-things we have avoided because of the thorough steps we have taken. There are issues of tenancy. They lost tenants; we are relying on tenants. That is very important. More than that, we discovered that the acting director was also a director of the Sunderland Housing Association. Wow! We went there to talk about housing. We gathered that information and went on.

We also discovered that the university-that has a close connection with this-is about to develop an autism program. And guess what? I had gone there to talk about autism. I would not have found that on the net. All these things are the benefit of face-to-face contact.

MR HARGREAVES: Mr Speaker, I have a supplementary question. Minister, do you have any advice to any member about the benefit of studying elsewhere versus limiting yourself to the internet?

MR WOOD: I do have advice to someone, and that is to do another backflip. I say to Mrs Burke: I heard you stand up in your place here and extol the virtues of a trip to Silicon Valley. I say this in a very friendly way: I think Mrs Burke will be re-elected-


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