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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 9 Hansard (19 August) . . Page.. 3955..


MR SMYTH (continuing):

Unfortunately that's not going to happen in the life of this government and, I'm sure if they're-elected, it won't happen in the life of the next.

As Mr Pratt so well pointed out, cities like Goulburn, which has Wakefield Park, actually take business out of the ACT; they take economic value out of the ACT because their councils have chosen to provide a service that this government chooses not to provide in the ACT. I think that's a shame. The fact that you can hardly get a booking at Wakefield Park-my understanding is it's used almost 100 per cent of the time-indicates the strong growth that there is in this industry. And it is an industry-have no doubt about it. Motor sport is an industry in all its many forms, whether you're buying your family sedan somewhere down there on Melrose Drive or whether you've actually got a hot rod or some sort of vehicle that you love and that you've done up or whether you've gone the whole hog and you've got yourself a drag racer and indulge in your sport in that way. But because we've got a do-nothing government all of that economic growth is going outside the territory.

There are reports on the economic value to the ACT of drag racing and motor sport. Again, this is ignored by the government. It's perhaps for that reason, Mr Speaker, that the ABS report that I referred to this morning reveals that when we left office there were 18,500 small businesses in the ACT. There were 16,100 businesses at 30 June 2003. So in just two short years this government has managed to remove 2,400 businesses from the ACT. The government has driven them away; they've gone; they've shut their doors; they've merged; they've disappeared. So let's not fool ourselves that we've got a government that is interested and, as they claim, unashamedly pro small business. Explain that to the almost 21/2 thousand businesses that have ceased to exist under the Labor Party. And some of those businesses are businesses that are associated with motor sports. So let's make sure that we actually realise what the impact of this do-nothing government is on this economy.

Ms Dundas spoke about a motor sport complex. We agree; we think there is a lot of work to be done. It's not just about drag racing. It is about everything from dirt bikes through to hill climbing. There are any number of different sports, Mr Speaker. Some of the older members have your own favourite car that you get out in on the weekends; you polish it up; you drive it around and you gain a great deal of pleasure from that. The Speaker's not going to bite. But what we have locked up in the garages, the back sheds and the garages of so many homes around Canberra is 30 or 40 years of motor sport history, memorabilia, cups, ribbons and medals.

There isn't a place to display them; there isn't a place for those people who are interested in motor sport to actually celebrate those years of history and achievement. Australia, in the broad, has done very well in terms of motor sport. Canberra has its own motor sport and dragway heroes as well.

In terms of the business aspect of motor sport as an industry and a dragway as an industry, there is a lot of history there that becomes a tourist attraction in its own right. So it's not just the events; it's getting people to stay here to enjoy the memorabilia, to get the cars out, to show them off, to re-live the history, to show the films and look at the pictures, to adore some of those vehicles that people clearly adore and for all the efforts that they put into it. I think that's the opportunity that we've missed, Mr Speaker.


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