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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 06 Hansard (Thursday, 3 June 2021) . . Page.. 1722 ..


place and pride; an ongoing platform from which we can leverage and build our narrative as a sustainable, healthy, smart, innovative, progressive and contemporary city.

The National Park City Foundation has an ambition to name 25 national park cities by 2025. I call on the ACT government to explore, through dialogue with the foundation and with our community whether there is benefit for Canberra to become a national park city.

I also call on the ACT government to continue the important branding work already underway to position Canberra as ‘More Than’, to encourage people to visit, study, work, do business and live; to continue to work closely with local and national media outlets to help them positively advocate Canberra’s unique identity and charm.

MR BARR (Kurrajong—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Climate Action, Minister for Economic Development and Minister for Tourism) (3.15): I thank Dr Paterson for raising this really important matter this afternoon and I can say from the outset that the government is very pleased to undertake the work that she has asked us to do in this motion.

I want us to just reflect though on point 1(c) of the motion, the journey over the past decade and the significant change in Canberra’s brand, image and identity. I reflect on this, having been part of that journey and change as tourism minister now for 15 years. When I came to the job, I inherited a set of circumstances for the destination that could, frankly, only be described as grim.

Tourism Research Australia had undertaken some work to assess Australia’s views of their national capital. In short, it was not fitting of an aspirational or short break; not fashionable; not a short-break destination for young people; not a destination associated with sporting events, shows or entertainment; not a city that is fun or active; not a city that offered a food or wine experience; not a city that offered any nature-based attractions or activities; and, finally, not being a friendly destination. That is a pretty devastating set of research findings that Tourism Research Australia undertook of the market. It did, within all that, show some positives for us: that it was a place to learn about the nation, that it did provide a memorable cultural experience, that it was a great short break for mature people and that it was a great place for families.

The task, essentially, over the last decade has been to build on those strengths and address the many destination weaknesses that we faced more than a decade ago. In reading out that list and then thinking if you were asked the same questions now, we would certainly get different answers on a food and wine experience, and on our destination’s attractiveness to younger people.

We are not the Gold Coast; this is not a schoolies market. But certainly our demographic has shifted down somewhat below people 60 years of age, which is a good thing. We were also perceived poorly as a romantic short-break destination. Wintertime, glasses of red wine in front of the fire—I am sure there is something that can be done in this space.


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