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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 04 Hansard (Tuesday, 20 April 2021) . . Page.. 908 ..

Significant efforts were put into engaging with businesses and industry on their obligations under the public health directions, and compliance inspection activity was maintained. This has helped businesses to keep their customers and staff safe. It has provided much-needed assurance to the public as we navigated this together. Access Canberra has also supported the delivery of economic stimulus initiatives, all of which have supported businesses and the territory’s economic recovery from the pandemic. I want to take this opportunity to especially thank the many staff at Access Canberra for their enormous and ongoing efforts through this very challenging period.

Finally, my portfolio as Assistant Minister for Economic Development incorporates community events. Through the pandemic the ACT government has actively sought to develop innovative methods for connecting Canberrans through events in a COVID-safe manner. This planning work has been supported by the ACT’s COVID-safe event protocol, which was released in September 2020. The primary objective has been to continue delivering the benefits of events but in new ways, while also contributing to the economic security of artists, vendors, suppliers and contractors operating in the local events sector.

Despite the significant challenges that have impacted the events sector during the 2020-21 budget cycle, I am pleased to advise that Events ACT has been able to adapt its work program during this time to deliver a suite of major events, community events, and event support mechanisms. The public response has once again been overwhelmingly positive, with the Canberra community making the most of the opportunity to get out and experience and engage with the wonderfully diverse community event components of the Enlighten Festival program, most recently, where tickets were snapped up.

Moving forward, Events ACT’s ongoing efforts to foster the development of the ACT’s annual events calendar, including its key event delivery and event support functions, will continue to be focused on engaging, connecting and benefiting Canberra’s diverse community, while also helping to support a recovering tourism and events sector as restrictions on travel and public gatherings lift across the country.

In closing, I want to thank the business, arts and event communities for their continued engagement and advocacy, for sharing their priorities and being candid in their feedback, for working so hard in pivoting and showing resilience and for ensuring that there is community and economic confidence right across the ACT. It really is quite extraordinary how everyone has banded together, and none of us makes light of that.

I also want to thank all of those in the directorate who have worked so hard to prepare initiatives that have been responsive to business and community needs, who have given their all, whom we have asked so much of in helping us to continue to keep Canberra’s economy strong. After all, we are all in this together. I commend these initiatives to the Assembly.

MS LAWDER (Brindabella) (6.16): I want to make some very brief comments about the arts portfolio. Firstly, I would like to congratulate everyone in the small but very

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