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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 11 Hansard (Wednesday, 20 October 2010) . . Page.. 4755 ..


The Report on the review of ACT government events and festivals prepared by Peter Loxton and Associates pulls no punches and confirms for us, as if we need further confirmation after their litany of failures, that this government clearly has little capacity to devise an effective approach to anything, let alone to tourism matters. Even the master of spin, the minister for tourism, will find it difficult to put a positive spin on this report.

While this is a wake-up call to this government, I think it is also a wake-up call to the ACT community to finally see through the spin that has been created by the Stanhope government over the past decade and which you, Madam Assistant Speaker, and the Greens seem to be happy to keep endorsing. But it seems it is time for the ACT community to see through this charade and to realise that no amount of spin, no number of Barr backflips, can cover the reality. The reality is that this government lacks vision, lacks policy, lacks strategy, lacks coordination and lacks discipline. I think “discipline” is one we can add as well. Perhaps this is why the Chief Minister has made the very un-chief-minister-like decision to leave his troops from the left and the right floundering while he takes his holiday overseas, bike-riding in Spain, while in Canberra the threads begin to unravel and reveal that the emperor has no new clothes or new ideas, for that matter.

I thank Mr Smyth for bringing his motion before us today and urge our Assembly colleagues to join us and call on the ACT government to set out what action the ACT government is taking to respond to these adverse findings by Peter Loxton and Associates. I also thank Mr Rattenbury for his amendments, which I understand Mr Smyth will be accepting.

MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (4.06): In estimates this year, we asked these questions of the minister: where was the event strategy? Where was the accommodation strategy? Where was the attraction strategy? We got an answer that was very unsatisfactory and, in the dissenting report that Mr Seselja and I put forward, recommendations 3.20.1 and 3.20.22 talk about a need for a strategy for attractions, events and accommodation.

These are important. These are the three pillars, in many ways, of the future of a tourism industry and are about looking to the future and realising the potential of the current assets we have both in the built form and in the intellectual capability of the people that we have in the ACT. The government laments often the lack of an economic base but this is one area of the economic base that could be expanded significantly without a great deal of effort. But what it does require is leadership. What it does require is a strategy. And that is what we are asking of the government today.

One of my concerns is that we now know that somewhere between five and 15 months ago the minister for tourism did get a draft event strategy and nothing has happened with it. We have not seen it. We were told in May it was before the government. So I assume it is still before the government five months later. In the Loxton report which has been received, there is a section that talks about leadership .That could well and truly be aimed at the minister for tourism. The delays are unacceptable and are without valid reason.


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