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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 07 Hansard (Thursday, 24 June 2021) . . Page.. 1994 ..

Members will be well aware of the government’s continued efforts to support the visitor economy in light of the pandemic, noting that international tourism has been completely wiped out. Tourism is, of course, central to the territory’s economic recovery. A job in our city is created for every $152,000 spent by visitors in Canberra. So making it easier and cheaper to fly to and from the ACT is a significant part of our strategy to attract more visitors, as well as fostering trade, investment and business opportunities and, of course, the diplomatic engagement that comes with our national capital role.

Today, we have a strong track record of securing, developing and sustaining new aviation routes. Canberra is better connected within Australia than ever before. For the first time in more than a decade, we have direct flights to every capital city in the country. Just a few weeks ago we witnessed a new milestone, with Jetstar announcing flights in and out of Canberra for the first time in the airline’s history. Jetstar will begin flying between Canberra and Brisbane in early September, just in time for Floriade. Jetstar, of course, is the latest in a group of airlines expanding into Canberra, including Rex, Alliance, Link and FlyPelican.

Unfortunately, it will be some time before we see frequent international travel. However, the ACT government will continue to work with Canberra airport and our counterparts in New Zealand to establish and, in the case of Wellington, re-establish trans-Tasman services.

Last month’s trade mission was an important step in this process. From here, we will continue working with all potential aviation partners, including Air New Zealand, Qantas and Virgin, to progress options for flights from Canberra to Auckland and Canberra to Wellington. Auckland is a larger city than Wellington, and in our approach there is clearly scope for different airlines to connect Canberra to each city, to cater for each distinct market. Auckland’s larger airport also presents more opportunities to connect Canberra with the rest of the world, including destinations in North America.

The New Zealand trade mission was also an important opportunity to strengthen Canberra’s ties with Wellington. I had not had the opportunity to meet with Wellington’s Mayor, Andy Foster, since he was elected in October 2019, in large part due to travel restrictions. We were pleased to be able to discuss the Canberra-Wellington sister city agreement ahead of its five-year anniversary next month, as well as aviation opportunities between our two cities.

The mayor and I are both committed to continuing and strengthening our partnership and look forward to reviewing and progressing the sister city agreement. The agreement is an ambitious one that has benefited both cities, with mutually beneficial opportunities across a range of key sectors, including the arts, innovation, space, cyber, sport and LGBTIQ+ affairs, as well as between governments and businesses. Of course, it would be remiss of me to forget to remind the Assembly that the “ale of two cities” will next be brewed in Wellington.

The re-establishment of flights between Canberra and Wellington was an important talking point. I am pleased both administrations are supportive of a direct connection

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