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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 11 Hansard (Wednesday, 20 October 2010) . . Page.. 4757 ..

It is strongly suggested that this funding should be wrapped into the development of a new Canberra Festival …

So there are questions about taking it from the government’s autumn festival. Is the autumn festival disappearing and a Canberra festival appearing? Is the autumn festival staying and then some of the money going to a Canberra festival?

There are concerns that additional bureaucracy and wrapping tourism dollars into something else will lead to a lessening of the budget for tourism. That would be unfortunate and, I truly believe, unacceptable.

Concerns have also been raised with me about the lack of consultation during the process. I have asked a number of the accommodation providers whether they were consulted and I am yet to find one who said that the accommodation industry was asked for their opinion on how these events would work. A number of those people have said to me that in spring and in autumn—

Mr Barr: Because it was not about tourism, Brendan, it was about community events.

MR SMYTH: Mr Barr says it was not about them. It is about them because the report actually talks—

Mr Barr: The Loxton review is about events, not just tourism events. Didn’t you listen to anything I said?

MR SMYTH: He says it is not about tourism. Events and festivals are tourism. Mr Barr said earlier, “Some of these things have little or no tourism potential.” The question is: have you tried? How do you know that? Have you talked to the accommodation sector, for instance, and asked them how it affects them? When there is a festival or something on, does it get people out and while they are out they go to another attraction? I would suspect the minister does not know because a lot of people I speak to see the potential in some of the smaller community events as things that build. Mr Barr said: “Floriade started as a small event. Look at it now.”

You will not know until you have got a strategy to test, under reasonable grounds—and the Loxton report suggests economic and community benefit would be the two—

Mr Barr: But surely not even you are suggesting that the Father’s Day event is a tourism event?

MR SMYTH: No, I am not suggesting that. That is the negativity of the minister: “Are you suggesting that every event will become a tourism event?” No, I did not say that. You know I did not say it. But Mr Negative over there, the man who cannot ever be wrong, has to make ridiculous statements every time we say it. The man who can never be wrong, the man who can never apologise and the man who cannot stand up and admit his mistakes, is lecturing me and others in this place. We did not hear from him earlier in the week, when the backflip was performed on his behalf by the department. “It is all the department’s fault.” That is the calibre of this man. He cannot stand up and say, “I have got it wrong.”

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