Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 6 Hansard (2 September) . . Page.. 1823 ..
MR QUINLAN (continuing):
and that that creates 900 jobs. If it creates 900 jobs and if this particular imposition, because of the way it has been introduced - let me repeat that I am focusing on the way it has been introduced - burns off 10 per cent of our visitors, we have just lost 90 jobs. On the Government's own figures, this measure could have a substantial impact on jobs in the ACT.
Now we come to our regional relationships. It is tough luck if you live in Queanbeyan. We know that Queanbeyan people do not pay rates in the ACT but they do business here, many of them work here and they participate to quite a high level in our economy, but they are going to have to pay. I suggest that they also will be somewhat alienated, particularly as they are right in our neighbourhood. They will be required to pay at the gate, if they go. Nevertheless, we espouse regional cooperation; we espouse regional independence. Given this fee and given our treatment of people from Queanbeyan, so much for our contribution to the region in which we live.
This particular exercise highlights several serious problems with either CTEC or the Government, or both. The concept was ill conceived, particularly the implementation process. The organisation was ill prepared in terms of thinking through the practicalities and the impact of the decision taken. Since the start, it has been policy on the run; it has been patchwork. Reaction from the community has brought up problems such as how we are going to define a family, how we are going to look after grandma, how we are going to look after people in hostels, and how we are going to solve the problem of getting into the distribution of tickets too damn late in the process.
This motion affords the Assembly the chance and the opportunity to engender some commonsense into the matter. Even if we accept the arguments for charging for entry into Floriade, we can make a nominal voluntary charge this year while foreshadowing a charge for next year. We can show the people who come here in the expectation of entering free, the people who provide us with $25.4m worth of income and 900 jobs, that it is a better festival and we can tell them that next year we are going to charge them. They will be forewarned and they will not be alienated against Canberra and against Floriade. I will close what I am saying now with the words of the Chief Minister in her speech. She said, "Once people have been disappointed once, they will not come back again".
MS TUCKER (7.30): I will make a brief contribution to this debate. I can see how the Government has got itself into a difficult situation. It has invested money on the assumption that it would be able to recoup it through fees for entry to Floriade. However, I think this motion represents a compromise. Revenue will still be generated from Floriade, even though it will not be as much as the Government was hoping for. The issues that have been raised by Labor in this motion are serious and are of concern when you listen to them.
The process does appear to have been pretty flawed. It does seem to have developed on the run. I was interested to hear the Chief Minister say tonight that prepackaged tours and so on would be accommodated in a special way. You would have hoped that the Canberra Tourism and Events Corporation was across the area well enough to have