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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 6 Hansard (2 September) . . Page.. 1831 ..

MR SPEAKER: It is not alone, Mr Berry, in being tired.

MR BERRY: I would not have called it tired, but it has got a bit of a wake-up call this year with a $10 entry fee. Ms Carnell went to great length to point out to us that we had half a million visitors who contributed over $25.4m to Canberra's economy and there were 900 jobs. Those figures will drop about 10 per cent as a result of this charge. The end result is that the effect of the Government's charge will be a $2.5m cut to Canberra's economy and 90 fewer jobs.

Mr Hird: Did you have the old crystal ball out?

MR BERRY: No, I am just looking at the figures. These are the figures that have been provided by Canberra Tourism. Last year Floriade attracted nearly half a million visitors who contributed over $25.4m to Canberra's economy. The Chief Minister reckons on about a 10 per cent cut as a result of the $10 entry fee. It does not take much to work it out. Half a million visitors will drop by 10 per cent, $25.4m will drop by 10 per cent and 900 jobs will drop by 10 per cent. It is pretty clear that the impact has not been thought through that well.

I am curious about the amendment that is being moved by the Osborne group. It puzzles me. I do not think it adds to, or detracts from, the motion, so I really have no comment to make about it. I just think it is superfluous. On principle, I will oppose it.

At the end of the day, if the Government ignores the call, however expressed, then I will personally move a censure motion against the Government for ignoring the call, and we will see what happens. That is the real issue that the Assembly will have to deal with. These things have to be taken seriously. If the Assembly expresses a view, we expect the Government to take it into account.

Yes, Mr Osborne is correct when he says that a gold coin donation was his idea. One of the drafts of the Estimates Committee report proposed a restoration of free entry. Mr Osborne suggested a gold coin donation instead. That was readily accepted by all members of the committee except for Mr Hird.

I would urge all members to support this motion. I think a gold coin donation will be a useful addition to Floriade if it is implemented. I wish the Government well in negotiating and sorting out an entry fee for next year's Floriade. I hope that they are able to sort out all the difficulties that they have stirred up as a result of the recent debacle. I thank members for their support for this motion.

MR OSBORNE: Mr Speaker, I seek leave to speak again.

Leave granted.

MR OSBORNE: The reason that we moved the amendment was just to clarify in our minds that neither Mr Rugendyke nor I have supported directing the Government on money issues. We moved the amendment to make it clearer to us what we were supporting. I put up this recommendation in the Estimates Committee, so in essence we do support it.

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