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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 03 Hansard (Tuesday, 16 March 2010) . . Page.. 871 ..

MS GALLAGHER: Thank you. The legacy that this government has already established is more operating theatres, more staff, more beds, more intensive care capacity at both hospitals, more demand, more people being seen every year—almost 10,000 people being removed—and the waiting times reducing, the waiting times for access to elective surgery reducing.

You will find cases from time to time where patients are frustrated but let us just for a moment think about what happens at that hospital—indeed, both hospitals—every day. Fifty-three per cent of the surgical work, unplanned, unannounced, nobody knows what it is going to be for, nobody knows what kind of capacity needs to be created, nobody knows whether we need intensive care work—53 per cent of the work is emergency surgery being done, unplanned, five of the 10 theatres every single day. Yet we still improve access to elective surgery.

I think that is something that this Assembly should be proud of and I think the constant criticism and whingeing that goes on in this place by Mr Hanson is affecting people’s morale. He, as shadow minister for health, needs to think about that. (Time expired.)

Tourism—autumn events

MS PORTER: Mr Speaker, my question, through you, is to the minister for tourism. Can the minister advise the Assembly of the successful tourism outcomes for the ACT from recent events, including the Masterpieces from Paris exhibition, and how the government’s policies contributed to this success?

MR BARR: I thank Ms Porter for the question and for her interest in the tourism industry. Last year, in response to an approach from the National Gallery of Australia, the ACT government committed the sum of half a million dollars to partner with the gallery to bring the Masterpieces from Paris exhibition to Canberra. This commitment also included the ACT’s new autumn event, which has involved an enhanced Canberra Festival and a range of special night time openings of the gallery through the hugely successful, and indeed sold-out, starry nights program which has occurred over the last four Fridays and Saturdays. Attracting visitors to the territory creates jobs, it grows our economy and it keeps a diverse economic base. The same great events and promotions that make Canberra a great place to visit also make Canberra a great place to live.

I can confirm that the Masterpieces from Paris exhibition has been a great success in every way. At the time of securing the event, the National Gallery estimated that the exhibition would attract in excess of 250,000 attendees. The estimate was that three-quarters of those would come from interstate or overseas. The estimated economic impact of the exhibition for the territory economy was $50 million. These estimates were based on the impact of previous blockbuster exhibitions at the gallery, including Turner to Monet and the Degas exhibition.

Members would be aware that the exhibition was originally scheduled to run from 3 December last year to 5 April this year. It was very good news for the territory’s tourism industry when the National Gallery announced last week that, due to

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