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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 8 Hansard (24 August) . . Page.. 2326 ..

MR QUINLAN (continuing):

My colleague Mr Berry made some reference to Bruce Stadium. I would like to make some reference to Olympic football. The Government made claims at one stage that there would be $200m worth of public exposure benefit, but when asked about it a lot of that $200m evaporated very quickly.

Just looking briefly at these figures that we have been given, let me give you one or two examples of the things that I would like to look at. For example, the documentation includes a 3 per cent CPI factor. The Government's budget includes a 21/2 per cent CPI factor. On that point the documentation is inconsistent with the Government's predictions and estimates process. It claims that we will get in the order of $32m or $33m worth of national and international exposure. I think that those things need to be challenged and at least teased out.

It says that we will get a 10 per cent increase in the crowd for every year that we run this race. There is no allowance made in those figures for the fact that in the first year it would be a novelty within Canberra and the Canberra region and there would be lots of people who would go and see this event once, but would not go again. I would like to be able to be informed by the Government as to the experience of other places in terms of running such an event when you have tickets at the price of $110, rising to $130, at the expensive end or $25, rising to $45, over the space of five years.

First of all, we have dismissed GST impacts, as I read the documentation. We have no idea of what ticket price comparisons are with elsewhere. There is simply not sufficient information in here for us to say that we can accept this proposal. As Mr Berry said, if it would be good for Canberra, we would like to be able to accept it; but a vote against this motion is a vote to adopt these figures on face value. Recent experience shows that that is not a very wise thing to do. In the limited time that I have had to look at these figures, I think that they are open to some doubt. I think that the Assembly owes itself the opportunity to question the basis of the figures and to question just how much optimism and how much practical experience is built into those figures.

Let me take you back to the proceedings of the Estimates Committee when we were talking about Olympic football. I asked in those proceedings whether anybody could tell me the Atlanta experience in terms of exposure and what their tourism increase was. There were lots of blank looks. I asked whether anybody could tell me what was the benefit of football to towns outside Atlanta; in fact, whether anybody could name one of those towns outside Atlanta. I received blank looks; the officers did not know. In fact, we have not examined that; we have just made wild assertions. If this paper happens to be built on the same basis as that $200m claim, then it really does bear examination by an estimates committee and this Assembly would be loony-tuned not to avail itself of that opportunity; it is as simple as that.

MS CARNELL (Chief Minister) (4.52): Mr Speaker, the Government does not support this approach simply because it really would take quite a lot of time. I think we would have to meet over the weekend. I am quite comfortable with doing that as I am here every weekend, but I have to say that others are not, Mr Speaker. That would mean a quite significant expense in terms of pulling in public servants for it. The reason I think it is not appropriate is that we are more than happy to give a briefing on the issue to any member who wants such a briefing.

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