Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 11 Hansard (Wednesday, 20 October 2010) . . Page.. 4745 ..
MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (3.29): The Greens welcome Mr Smyth bringing forward this motion today and we support the general thrust of the motion because we believe the events and festival industry in Canberra is incredibly important. In fact, we all know more broadly when we talk about the tourism industry the importance of that industry for employment and economic results here in the ACT, with nearly 13,000 full-time equivalent jobs in the tourism sector, contributing about $1.2 billion to the ACT’s economy as well as the obvious tax revenue that that generates for both the state and federal governments which we then use for other purposes.
The importance of the sector is clear in its own right but it is also incredibly important in diversifying the ACT’s economic base. We have often discussed in this place, even in my time, let alone before my time, the necessity of doing so. The motion circulated correctly, I think, highlights some of the adverse comments or adverse findings and observations contained in the Loxton report.
These include issues around the current funding and scheduling arrangements lacking vision, policy direction, strategy and coordination; event scheduling not being guided by a plan thus giving the impression of disorganisation and clutter; there being limited communication or sharing of knowledge and expertise between government agencies about planning and management of events and festivals; and that overall situation undermining the effectiveness and value of government investment. I think these are quite significant points and they are ones that I am sure the various ministers with responsibility have read with some concern and are no doubt currently thinking about how they are going to respond to.
The motion goes on to call on government to set out how it will respond to these adverse findings that I have just flagged. I trust that the government has already given that quite some consideration. We support that call because it is an important matter for this chamber to discuss what the government is going to do in response to these findings—findings that are very useful for all of us to consider.
However, while agreeing that the Loxton report does have some adverse findings, the Greens are also aware of the positive exciting vision suggested by the report for the future of Canberra’s events and festivals. This vision centres on the creation of brand Canberra under which Canberra will be marketed and events promoted. The brand would strongly link the four seasons we experience in Canberra.
I note that this is something the Acting Chief Minister has just referred to. It is also touched upon in Australian Capital Tourism’s five-year strategy plan for 2009-13. I would flag now that I am going to move a series of amendments to the motion. The first of those amendments does pick up this positive side of the equation.
I think it is valuable to reflect that in the motion in order to give us some guidance on where the opportunities also lie as well as some of the problems that need to be addressed. I may as well move them now, actually. First of all, I seek leave to move my amendments together as a group for the ease of the Assembly.