Page 3932 - Week 13 - Tuesday, 23 November 1993

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Whatever VITAB decides to do with its own finance is a matter for its commercial judgment. Mrs Carnell, who is so close to the business section, would understand that these negotiations for the development of these sorts of special arrangements are conducted in a commercial-in-confidence environment, and, of course, that was the case. All of the people who needed to be consulted were consulted.

Mr Humphries: Who were they?

MR BERRY: I said "Treasury and the Government Solicitor's Office". They were consulted to make sure that what we got was a good deal for the Territory. Many other governments would love to have got their hands on this one. What we needed to do was to ensure that it was in the interests of the Territory, that it was safe and secure. My information was that it was safe and secure, and it represented value for money for the Territory.

MRS CARNELL: I ask a supplementary question, Madam Speaker. Taking those comments into account, what are the financial and other benefits that will accrue to ACT ratepayers as a result of this arrangement?

MR BERRY: The arrangements are that the TAB will provide the infrastructure and, through it, access to the pools by VITAB. The ACT is on a percentage of turnover.

Mrs Carnell: What percentage?

MR BERRY: My recollection of it is that it is one per cent.

Mr De Domenico: One per cent?

MR BERRY: One per cent of a lot of money. It would amount, on some estimates, to about $300,000 a year to the Territory, on my recollection of it. I can seek some further information on the detail of those figures for you, but it depends on how VITAB performs as well. Most importantly, this is about ensuring that the Territory is safe, and it is good value for money. Treasury and the Government Solicitor's Office have told me that that is certainly secure.

Tourist Accommodation Industry

MR LAMONT: My question is directed to the Chief Minister. Chief Minister, is it true that the ACT had the highest accommodation occupancy rates in the country for the June quarter? If so, can you outline the major reasons for such a positive result by our accommodation industry?

MS FOLLETT: I thank Mr Lamont for the question, Madam Speaker. I am sure that all members will be very pleased to join in a little bit of good news here and to congratulate the ACT tourism industry on topping Australia in the June quarter for accommodation occupancy rates. The Bureau of Tourism Research figures show that for that quarter the ACT, with 58 per cent occupancy rates, edged out Queensland with 57 per cent and New South Wales with 52 per cent. It is a very good result indeed for the Territory. When you consider that the June quarter is not a traditionally strong tourism season for this Territory, it is an even more pleasing result. The national tourism occupancy figures are only around 50 per cent and the ACT is now consistently scoring around

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