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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 11 Hansard (Wednesday, 20 October 2010) . . Page.. 4742 ..

Tourism—events and festivals

Debate resumed.

MS GALLAGHER (Molonglo—Deputy Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Health and Minister for Industrial Relations) (3.17): The government welcome the opportunity to discuss the Loxton report into the review of ACT government events and festivals. This is a report that we commissioned at our instigation to ensure that our structures were in the right place in terms of where we want to be and where we want to head. This is a government that will look at new ideas, that will take constructive feedback. That is what we get when we have the opportunity for an external review of our own systems and processes.

It is not just happening in the events and festivals area. We have also had a review of the Heritage Act. We are having a review of the taxation system and Dr Hawke is also reviewing the structure of the ACT public service. I think this is a sign that the government wants to look at ways to continuously improve, to put our current structures and operations under scrutiny—and at that, independent scrutiny. It is doing this not only to gauge how we are performing now but where we want to be in the future. That was very much the reason behind the commissioning of the ACT government events and festivals report.

This report is out currently for consultation with the community. I know that there is a lot of interest in it, particularly from those involved in events and festivals across the ACT. We will gather their feedback before we make decisions. I think some of the recommendations are easier than others to implement and to respond to. Others will require, I think, careful consideration before the government is prepared to act.

This is certainly a report that we welcome and I think the debate in the Assembly is useful. I would like to say also though that when we listened to Mr Smyth’s speech earlier just prior to lunch and his capacity to talk down the very promising and exciting calendar events that already exist in this city, it is disappointing. When you go back and look at Mr Smyth’s record and expertise, when you go back and have a look at the existing record of Mr Smyth’s achievements when in government around major events and tourism, I think people reviewing the Hansard will get a very different picture.

Mr Smyth would have you believe that the events and tourism system here in the ACT has declined compared to when he was managing the ship. I think all I have to do is give you a list of some of those decisions that your government took that had the tourism and events industry in chaos in the ACT. I will run through them quickly. I do not even need to explain anything further other than to name them because they are so notorious in terms of understanding by the Canberra community.

But let us have a look at the futsal slab and the Bruce Stadium. We can talk about how you painted the grass green and then invited journalists to come and have a look at the stadium before the paint was even dry. We saw article after article about the disastrous proposal to put the Multicultural Festival and the Canberra Festival

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