Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 7 Hansard (26 June) . . Page.. 2608 ..
The new-look ACT tourism strategy will hopefully provide an opportunity for us to work more closely with the surrounding region. While our role as the national capital will always be central to tourism in the ACT, we ought to work with the many other attractions in and around Canberra, including the natural beauty and environment of Namadgi National Park, as well as the numerous wineries and agricultural attractions in surrounding areas. I hope this piece of legislation is the first step in the kick-starting and reboosting of tourism in the ACT.
MS TUCKER(5.25): The Greens will be supporting this bill, although we are not terribly enthusiastic about it. I appreciate that it simply changes the name from Canberra Tourism and Events Corporation to Australian Capital Tourism Corporation.
There was a fundamental regime change in CTEC about a year ago. The ongoing financial drain of the V8 car race put the nails in CTEC's big-event coffin, as it appears unlikely that CTEC or Australian Capital Tourism, if this bill is passed, will again take on the task of running major sporting events. I am disappointed, however, that the focus still seems to be all about Parliament house, Floriade and bed nights, and that it has no real vision of the Canberra it is promoting and supporting.
In this context, it is worth considering issues raised by the National Folk Festival. In a letter to me dated 14 May, Dr Keith McHenry, president of the festival, makes the point that CTEC's support for the national festival this year was 47 per cent less than for 2002. In fact, since the festival located permanently to Canberra, total ACT government support has fallen from $96,000 in 1993 to $65,000 in 2003.
Over the same time, the festival has quadrupled in size, and has had to deal with major new costs, such as increased public liability and the GST. In the context of ACT tourism and events, the National Folk Festival attracts thousands of visitors to the ACT, injects millions of dollars into the territory economy and has thrown Canberra into a very positive light.
If only Canberra Tourism and Events Corporation, or Australian Capital Tourism, the Canberra authority-or whatever we want to call it-were really committed to developing events and activities in this city which are enriching and satisfying locally, as well as of great benefit to the local economy!
MR QUINLAN(Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Business and Tourism and Minister for Sport, Racing and Gaming) (5.27) in reply: I thank members for their support. The government is concerned to ensure that we do have events-and, hopefully, they will provide for locals as well as visitors.
This bill changes the name, and hopefully adds to a change in orientation, of CTEC. It is the case that the V8 car race cost us even more than the figures we have been shown. Going by the mjaMatchpoint report, the V8 car race clearly occupied a great part of the resources of CTEC, to the point of-at least in the view of the industry generally-preoccupation. I really cannot tell you how much it was costing, but it was costing a lot. The race was diverting energies and resources, but I will not dwell on that.