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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 08 Hansard (Thursday, 16 August 2018) . . Page.. 3125 ..

MR BARR: Unlikely. As members in this place would well know, tourism is a strong focus of the government’s agenda to grow our economy and to create more good, secure, long-term jobs. According to the most recent state tourism satellite account data released by Tourism Research Australia in April this year, tourism contributes $2.3 billion to the territory’s gross state product and supports 16,800 jobs. This represents growth of 9.5 per cent from the previous year and is the second highest rate of growth of any state or territory across the nation—we were just beaten by Tasmania—and it is well ahead of the national average, which was 5.6 per cent.

The ACT government is committed to the ongoing development of the tourism industry in Canberra. We have focused our efforts on attracting more visitors to the city, both from within Australia and from overseas. I am delighted that we have reached all-time record highs for both domestic and international visitors. Over the next four years we will continue to boost international and domestic tourism, with $47½ million earmarked for a suite of campaigns and programs that will grow our city’s profile and provide even more compelling reasons for people to visit Canberra.

This includes continuing to work to attract new aviation services and expanding on existing routes. It also means having a bold and diverse major events calendar that encompasses artistic, cultural, sporting and community activities to attract a diverse range of visitors throughout the year.

The 2018-19 budget includes funding for the development of two new major events for Canberra. The first of these will be delivered in winter 2020 and will focus on promoting Canberra’s strengths in innovation, design, gaming, culture and creativity. The festival will become a new anchor event on Canberra’s annual calendar, alongside our popular spring event, Floriade, and our increasingly popular autumn event, Enlighten.

We will also deliver a new Canberra arts biennial. Building on the major contribution that Canberra’s arts community made to the city’s centenary celebrations, the biennial will showcase local artists and arts organisations, along with recognised national and international creators.

Our events calendar is more than just a tourist drawcard; it also creates opportunities for the Canberra community to come together and celebrate what we are proud of as a city. We marked our city’s first Reconciliation Day public holiday on 28 May this year with a fantastic community event in Glebe Park celebrating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures. The budget includes funding to make this an annual event from now on.

We will also deliver a third edition of the popular Windows to the World event in 2019. This was first staged by the ACT government in 2013 as part of Canberra’s centenary program. The event celebrates Canberra’s multicultural diversity with open days and tours that showcase our city’s embassies and high commissions. Windows to the World tells the story of international relations and the role that Canberra plays as Australia’s internationally connected capital city.

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