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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 6 Hansard (22 May) . . Page.. 1611 ..

MRS CARNELL: I am certainly very happy to get absolute details of what happened to every single patient at Woden Valley Hospital for the 24 hours, if those opposite would like that. It is normal practice during emergency bypass to transfer patients from one hospital to the other. It is the only sensible approach to take. It is interesting to me that yesterday those opposite were saying that we were treating too many patients. They were saying, "Shock, horror! You, the Government, are treating too many patients and you are spending too much money". Today they are saying that somehow we should have more beds and spend more money. Yesterday it was exactly the opposite. I think they really should make up their minds, Mr Speaker.

Operation Sell Canberra

MR HIRD: Mr Speaker, once again the Opposition got their hands caught in the lolly jar. My question is to Mr De Domenico in his capacity as Minister for Business, Employment and Tourism. Could he outline, for the parliament's information, a recent initiative launched by the Government named Operation Sell Canberra and its effect on the tourist industry in the region?

MR DE DOMENICO: Mr Speaker, as I have said many times before in this chamber, the tourism industry in the ACT is vital to our economic future. It is good to see visitor figures at a high point despite the flattening out of the domestic tourism market. I was privileged to announce some increased tourism figures here last week. Mr Speaker, the Government continues to initiate projects that will have a positive impact on tourism to our region. Operation Sell Canberra, which Mr Hird wants to know about, is yet another example. Whilst those opposite or others in the community continue to moan and groan and wring their hands, governments like ours are doing something. Operation Sell Canberra is a major familiarisation program which was held over the weekend of 3 to 5 May. I note that Mr Wood and Mr Whitecross participated in it, and I thank them for being there. It brought to the national capital more than 50 leading convention organisers and meeting planners in a bid to showcase our city as a premier meetings, conventions and exhibitions destination to key decision-makers. These decision-makers work for major business associations and corporations in Sydney and Melbourne.

The program also aimed to convince at least 50 per cent of the buyers to book business in Canberra and to get the local convention industry to work together in a cohesive fashion which will bring positive results for Canberra as a destination. We have done that because a lot has been said of recent times to the effect that Canberra does not spend enough on tourism promotion. We say that, whilst we spend less than others, we tend to get more value for our money than, say, Tasmania, which tends to spend $8 for every $1 that we spend and gets less value for the dollars that they spend. The Canberra Convention Bureau estimates that the return on the Government's few thousand dollars of investment - I think it was $15,000 - will be over $3.7m in convention business to Canberra over the next two years.

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