Page 4094 - Week 13 - Wednesday, 24 November 1993

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Ministerial Statement and Paper

MS FOLLETT (Chief Minister and Treasurer): Madam Speaker, I seek leave to make a ministerial statement on the ACT business delegation to Japan.

Leave granted.

MS FOLLETT: I thank members. I am very pleased today to be able to present the mission report from the ACT business delegation which I led to Japan between 23 October and 5 November 1993. The 13-person delegation was a joint Government and private sector initiative and emanated from approaches from the ACT chapter of the Australian Tourism Industry Association, the ACT Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the Australia-Japan Society. I would like to record my appreciation for the manner in which all delegates acted as ambassadors for their city. Not only do we have a magnificent city to market, but also we have representatives who can articulate its virtues in any national or international forum. Madam Speaker, the overall costs of the delegation are currently being acquitted by Treasury. I can say that the cost will be contained within the initial budget estimate and, indeed, I expect that it will be substantially lower. To put the costs of the delegation into perspective, it is important to note that an increase of just 10 per cent in the number of Japanese tourists coming to Canberra would result in an additional $250,000 flowing into our local economy.

Madam Speaker, I know that I share with all the members of the delegation a view that this first ACT Government-led overseas mission was, in the context of the relatively modest aims set, very successful. The group set out to raise awareness of Canberra as Australia's national capital, to market Canberra as an attractive business destination, and to promote Canberra as an attractive place to visit. I believe that the delegation pursued these aims vigorously and succeeded in raising Canberra's profile at very senior levels in the key areas of education, advanced technology and tourism. Whilst the mission was not a sales trip, it did have the further aim of allowing Canberra region companies with products or services to market in Japan to gain exposure during the delegation's visit. This was achieved through a number of direct representations and an extremely useful business directory. To this end I wish to compliment the ACT Chamber of Commerce and Industry on their production of the directory. I intend discussing with the chamber the possibility of extending the directory to a wider section of the business community for use in other marketing ventures.

Madam Speaker, there were a number of significant opportunities for Canberra which emerged during the mission. They are opportunities which will be realised only by an ongoing commitment from Government and business. I believe that the historic signing of the twinning agreement with Nara is of particular long-term significance to Canberra in the areas of arts, culture, sport, education, business and government. To maximise the benefits of the twinning agreement, I intend establishing a community based sister city committee. Specific opportunities which I would like the committee to pursue include the possible establishment of a Japan cultural centre in Canberra, including, for instance, Japanese gardens, a tea house and exhibition space, and featuring exhibits from Nara and other centres; more extensive exchanges in the areas of sport, education, arts and business; and the ongoing marketing and promotion of Canberra through a cooperative arrangement with Nara and/or the placement of a senior representative in Nara.

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