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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 5 Hansard (15 May) . . Page.. 1274 ..

MR DE DOMENICO: Thank you, Mr Kaine. Mr Speaker, I regret to inform those opposite that there is more good news for the ACT economy. I hate to tell them this, but there is more good news. The latest figures, from a survey recently carried out by Canberra Tourism, prove that Canberra continues to be one of the country's most desired tourist destinations. Figures for the September quarter 1995 show that Canberra played host to 422,000 visitors - up by 3.7 per cent from the same period in 1994. Other figures show that spending by visitors in the ACT has increased by almost 6 per cent, to $196 per visit.

Mr Speaker, this is a most encouraging result for both the tourism industry and the wider Canberra community, because, as we know, every dollar earned by the industry flows back into the local economy through jobs and associated businesses. In fact, more than 60 per cent of all visitor dollars goes into our retail sector, and that is almost $200m a year. Mr Speaker, tourism really is about good business, and these figures show that everyone from the local shopkeeper to the local service station operator benefits from tourism.

Mr Speaker, it is no secret that Canberra is currently hurting from the damaging speculation over proposed cutbacks in the Commonwealth Public Service. Tourism is just one way to arrest this fall in confidence. While public sector jobs may not be as certain as they once were, Ansett, for example, with its office in Deakin, is proving that the private sector is still capable of jobs growth. I was there last week when they employed some more young people. These new recruits are in addition to the 230 existing staff that Ansett has based in the ACT - a figure that the airline expects will increase throughout the year. So, Mr Speaker, it is companies like Ansett that are talking up the economy, unlike those who are wishing to talk it down. It just shows that tourism is alive and well in Canberra and is more than capable of strengthening the ACT economy.

Capital Works Budget

MR OSBORNE: Mr Speaker, I ask my question today of Mr Moore in his capacity as chair of the committee which looks at the capital works budget. Mr Moore, you will recall that yesterday I asked Mr De Domenico how many jobs would be lost because of the cuts to the capital works budget announced by his Government, and he said, "None". Could you tell me just how many jobs will be lost because of the $14.2m that has been moved out of Urban Services?

MR MOORE: Mr Speaker, I thank Mr Osborne for the question, and particularly for giving me some notice that he would ask that question. It allowed me to ensure that I had the report on capital works from the Planning and Environment Committee. I think, in the first place, when we are talking about a reduction of $14m in the capital works program, we are talking about in the order of 15 jobs per $1m when we are talking about the building industry, but that may be a little less if we are talking about roadworks and things like that. So, even if you were to bring the normal figure that we use, of 15 jobs per $1m, down to 12, it would still be in the order of 200 jobs that would be lost in terms of that $14m.

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