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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 12 Hansard (20 November) . . Page.. 4409 ..

MR STEFANIAK (continuing):

Australian Capital Tourism, at the launch of the Canberra Women's Classic on 11 November this year. He said:

It's very important for us to start the year with a bit of a bang with Summernats, the Women's Classic and anything else we can do in January because the way it's shaping up the second half of the year is not looking so flash.

The budget shows that you intend to cut funding for tourism from $16.1 million this year to $12.3 million in 2004-2005. Minister, why are you proposing to cut the budget for tourism by nearly a quarter in 2004-2005, when Mr MacDiarmid acknowledges that next financial year in "not looking so flash"for the local tourism industry?

MR QUINLAN: Thank you for the question, Mr Stefaniak. Just the other day, I launched our summer campaign and, of course, compared to the spring we have just had and the opportunities that we have made or were available, summer does line up as potentially a slower season. That has happened year in, year out. There will be the Summernats, there will be the Multicultural Festival and there will be the Canberra Women's Classic which, I am very pleased to say, looks like becoming a permanent feature.

A whole raft of other activities will occur in Canberra through the summer period but we do have to sell them. We have put in place a program whereby every Canberran will be provided with, and asked to send to friends, postcards that will encourage visitors to come to Canberra, because of a lot of our visitors come from that sector.

It is quite clear that the restructuring of tourism in the ACT by this government is starting to bear fruit. The seasonal campaigns are working. The accommodation industry was very happy even before we got to Floriade this year. It felt that things were a lot better than they had been for quite some time. I am very happy that what we are doing is working smart in tourism.

When it comes down to talking about why I am going to cut the budget, the $16 million that you mentioned, Mr Stefaniak, is made up of a $12 million annual allocation to tourism and the tail end of the money that was allocated by your government to the V8 car race, which I have to say cost a lot more than the $4 million. I shudder to think, if we carried out a very rigorous accounting exercise, what we would discover it actually did cost in cash and in costs that were not specifically allocated to it but that the city had to bear. That money, which was effectively wasted on a severe error of judgment, was used in that way.

What you see now is tourism flourishing in the ACT. I can assure this house that it will continue to do so.

MR STEFANIAK: Minister, why are you frittering away the gains that we made this year with the Rugby World Cup and the Masters Games by not maintaining tourism funding at an adequate level to properly promote our territory?

Mr Corbell: You did not make the gains, we did.


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