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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 8 Hansard (9 August) . . Page.. 2702 ..

MR HIRD (continuing):

ACT or Queanbeyan, but throughout the region, creating jobs and resulting in money being spent in the hospitality industry.

I listened very carefully to Mr Berry, as I always do, and heard him say that we might have job losses, that we might have mass sackings, to do with Floriade. What about the hospitality industry if the Labor Party does what Mr Berry says it will do when it gets on the treasury bench? That would mean that we would lose jobs, jobs and more jobs in the hospitality industry? The effect would be felt not only by the ACT, but also by the region, it would have disastrous outcomes, yet the people opposite aid and abet the downgrading of something which puts Canberra on the international map, not just the national map, which makes Canberra come alive and which takes away the stigma of Canberra being a political vacuum.

Canberra has 311,000 people. A number of those people have jobs in the hospitality industry, which relies on the staging of this type of event. I think the minister and the National Capital Authority are to be congratulated for getting behind such a great project at a time when we find ourselves at a lower ebb, being the Queen's birthday long weekend. Their stimulation has created jobs within the hospitality industry, and I think that they can be proud of themselves for doing that.

MR KAINE (4.25): We have been waiting for this report for so long and, as far as I am concerned, it has turned out to be a bit of a fizzer. It is only a bit of a PR exercise that says what a wonderful job we did. There has been an assertion by one side that there has been a waste of money and the other side has said that there has not been a waste of money, that it has all been well spent. How do we know? This is not a set of accounts showing an income and expenditure statement; it is just an assertion of a few statements which may or may not be factual. Interestingly enough, although it was only yesterday that the Chief Minister said that the government could not put the figures on the table before then because they were not audited and that we would not want unaudited figures, this statement says that preliminary results, yet to be audited, indicate that there was an operating loss of $1.45 million.

Mr Smyth: I take a point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker. I clarified that they were not to be the audited figures. That was the information I gave to the Chief Minister. Mr Kaine would have heard that.

MR DEPUTY SPEAKER: That is not a point of order, Mr Smyth.

MR KAINE: Mr Deputy Speaker, I am concerned that, whilst there are all sorts of grandiose claims in this document about the result of this event, there is nothing in it which actually demonstrates that we either made or lost anything. That, I think, is the big problem. The government has committed $23 million to this project over five years and cannot produce a set of books which show what we spent and what we got back, so that we can actually see from a factual set of audited accounts whether there has been a profit or a loss. That does not relate only to this year. It relates to the cumulative effect of last year and this year, and is going to be a cumulative effect through for the next three years as well.

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