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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 12 Hansard (22 November) . . Page.. 3773..

MR SESELJA (continuing):

letter, "We formally request that you please confirm whether or not Discount Outlet Retailing is to be a permitted use under the Territory Plan,"and they were referred to the Land Development Agency. Minister, given that ING and Austexx were both asking for advice on the territory plan prior to the EpiCentre auction, why did ING not receive the same treatment as Austexx? Why was legal advice not sought from the government solicitor's office to address ING's concerns?

MR CORBELL: I have answered this question already in relation to other questions around the ING inquiry. ING made an inquiry not as a registered bidder but as a party in the expressions of interest process. They chose not to pursue the issue as a registered bidder. The advice I had is that that was the appropriate course of action at that stage, given that there were no registered bidders and they were instead simply being dealt with through an expressions of interest process. All registered bidders who made inquiries received advice, and ING, had they chosen to be a registered bidder, would have also done that if they had made the inquiry at that time. ING chose not to pursue the matter further and that was a decision made by them.


MR GENTLEMAN: My question is to the minister for tourism. Minister, given recent media reports of the successful Australian Capital Tourism awards, would you inform the Assembly of the achievements that were highlighted at those awards?

Mr Smyth: Yes. He got bollocked for the cuts to the tourism budget.

MR SPEAKER: Order, Mr Smyth!

MR BARR: I thank Mr Gentleman for his question. I am sure everyone in the Assembly would agree that the ACT tourism industry is highly successful in attracting people to the ACT and in marketing our great city and our region.

Although Mr Smyth hates to hear it, in the domestic market the ACT was the only state or territory to record an increase in overnight visitors for the year December 2005 when compared with December 2004. The six per cent growth that was achieved was particularly impressive in the context of an overall national decline of six per cent for the same period.

This year marked the 21st birthday of the Australian Capital Tourism awards and was a celebration of our many tourism achievements here in the ACT. The awards offer an opportunity to showcase the quality of the region's tourism operators in terms of product and visitor experience. They are open to all tourism businesses and suppliers in the tourism industry and provide the opportunity for public recognition of businesses that have achieved a level of excellence. Winning an award is the local industry's highest accolade.

I found myself again impressed by the professionalism, success and innovation of our local industry. The high calibre of recipients on show last Thursday night displayed the excellence of the local tourism industry and showed that the Canberra and capital region continues to develop as a destination offering quality visitor experiences.

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