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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 4 Hansard (18 April) . . Page.. 1111 ..

MR DE (continuing):

As you know, Mr Speaker, the ACT is working with the New South Wales and Commonwealth governments on options for a high-speed rail link, and on improving the quality of road transport. We are looking at options for Canberra Airport as well. Those three initiatives were initiatives of this Government. Whilst other governments have talked about it for years on end, we have got off our hands and are doing something about it. If we do our homework, Mr Speaker, and target key markets, the result will be increased visitor numbers and benefits flowing through to all business, particularly the tourism sector. We will continue to monitor developments and we will be undertaking further work to analyse potential benefits so that we can target our efforts to achieve the greatest outcome for the ACT economy.

I say once again, Mr Speaker, that, whilst others tend to talk a lot about these things, this Government is doing something concrete about them. I think the classic example of that is the trip that Mrs Carnell undertook to Argentina and Brazil. It was much maligned by some people in this place, but ultimately it will lead to enormous benefits for the ACT community. We will continue to do those sorts of things that we think are going to benefit the community in the long term.

MRS CARNELL (Chief Minister) (4.17), in reply: As you may recall, on 28 February 1996 I presented the report on the preliminary estimates of the economic benefits to the ACT from the Sydney 2000 Olympics. The report was prepared, as Mr De Domenico said, primarily by the industry policy and analysis section of the Bureau of Business and Regional Development and was based on the most recent assessment of the latest Tourism Forecasting Council figures for international visitors to the ACT.

The report highlighted some areas of real concern for the ACT. The tourism trend in this region shows that the ACT's share of international visitation has declined markedly from 15 per cent to 9 per cent over the last 13 years. We need to address this issue immediately, with aggressive marketing and strategic vision. If we can achieve the high case scenario outlined in the report, the ACT will receive an extra $10m annually from international tourism. That is not an insignificant figure, Mr Speaker. There is no doubt that the economic benefit to Canberra from the predicted growth of international visitation to Australia will depend on our ability to reverse the current trend of diminishing market share.

One way to address this issue will be to aggressively market the sports tourism market and, in particular, seek to host international sporting associations for pre-Olympic training and the 2000 Olympic competition in Canberra. To this end there have been a number of visits to various embassies to see various people who have contacts with other Olympic nations in order to push Canberra's case. I am very pleased with some of the material that has been produced by our ACT 2000 Committee. I think the people who have been involved in that - Robyn Calder as executive director, and Bruce Glanville as chair - really should be commended, but we have an awful lot of work to do.

One of the things that my recent visit to Brazil showed me is just how important it is to sell Canberra as a venue for sporting events outside the capital and how little lots of people know about Canberra. We will be doing everything in our power to achieve that.

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