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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 11 Hansard (Wednesday, 20 October 2010) . . Page.. 4715 ..

The last major area that is dealt with by the consultant concerns the way in which events and festivals are managed across the ACT government. It notes the number of departments and agencies that deliver events and festivals and concludes that the time is right for consolidation, and we agree. The time is right for consolidation, and that is why we propose in my motion that we have a plan for events and festivals, that we have a plan for new attractions, that we have a plan for accommodation. They are the three legs. There is no point in having a strategy for events and festivals if people cannot get a room. There is no point in having people stay overnight if there are not other things to do. We need to constantly refresh what there is to do in the ACT with a long-term view. A 20 or 30-year strategy is what is really required to make sure—

Mr Barr: A national long-term tourism strategy, do you think, maybe?

MR SMYTH: Well, the minister goes to the national long-term tourism strategy. He is quite happy to let other people do his work. But every other state and jurisdiction has their own strategies as well, and that is the shame for this minister.

Mr Barr: Right. So we should do something different from the rest of the country.

Mr Hanson: Mr Speaker, on a point of order, Mr Barr has been interjecting. You have informally warned him two or three times now, and he is continuing to do so. I noticed that in the previous debate you formally warned both Mrs Dunne and Mr Doszpot for their interjections. I just ask that as this debate continues, if Mr Barr were to continue with his interjections, you apply the same consistency.

MR SPEAKER: Thank you for your advice, Mr Hanson. Mr Smyth, you have the floor.

MR SMYTH: Well, there you go. It is important that we get it right. You just cannot say, “Well, we’ll get festivals right and we’ll get to the other parts of it later.” They work in concert, they work together, and they maximise community return and economic return when they are done together. That is the point of this motion.

You were there at the estimates hearings earlier this year, Mr Speaker, when I asked the minister about various aspects of his government’s strategy for tourism in the ACT. I have to say that I was not very happy with any of his answers. I asked, “Mr Barr, do you have an accommodation strategy?” Mr Barr said, “No, we have a land release schedule.” And I asked, “Is there a strategy for accommodation?” and he said, “It is part of the long-term tourism strategy, part of the government’s land release strategy.” He said it four times. I asked, “Is there an events plan?” He said, “It’s still before the government.”

This is the curious thing: if this minister actually did his job and actioned the events strategy that he has before him, the government might have avoided the embarrassing Loxton review. We know the minister has got this events plan, and he has had it since estimates. That is at least five months. But I am told that, following some of the roundtables and discussions in January, February and March 2009, the minister had a draft events schedule on his table. He has had that for about 15 months but has failed

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