Page 4742 - Week 15 - Tuesday, 13 December 2005

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quarters. Therefore, I am hopeful that the December figure, due out next year, will also contain good news for the industry, particularly taking into account Floriade, the Brindabella Challenge, which was new, and the Champions Trophy hockey tournament.

If you look at the results for the other states and territories in the September quarter of this year, the achievement of the ACT industry is even more impressive. We were the only state to show growth. Every other state has shown decline in that quarter, and the national decline is about 5½ per cent. So it is a terrific result.

There are a number of reasons for this, of course, but we do refer to the Jetstar phenomenon, which I have heard described as a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Leadership has been provided by ACT tourism, and the government and the industry have worked together. We did work with the industry during Floriade, with the rock ‘n’ roll trail. That worked; that brought people in. We are now working on a program called “From the Vault”, with the major attractions, and I do expect that that will have some effect as well. I think that demonstrates that, after several years, we really do have the tourism industry across Canberra working together—and happily working together—and I think we are also seeing the ongoing effects of the “See yourself in Canberra” program, which was never intended or expected to be just a one-shot boost. It would take time to have its impact, and I think it is having its impact.

There is ever the possibility of an economic downturn, of natural disaster, of petrol prices, of another SARS or bird flu or whatever. But, all things being equal, it is to the credit of Australian Capital Tourism Corporation and of the tourism industry across Canberra that we are showing a recovery from some bad but explainable figures a year or so ago.

Multicultural centre

MS MacDONALD: My question is to the Chief Minister. From the time it first won government, Labor has worked towards the establishment of a dedicated multicultural centre to service the vibrant communities that are an integral part of the makeup of our city. The Chief Minister officially opened the Theo Notaras Multicultural Centre on 8 December 2005. Chief Minister, can you explain the significance to the Canberra community of the opening of the new multicultural centre?

MR STANHOPE: I thank Ms MacDonald for the question. The opening of the multicultural centre last week was a very important occasion at which I was very pleased to be present. It is the first such centre in Australia and already it has become the envy of multicultural communities through Australia. At the opening, the representative of the federal department of immigration commented to me that the centre was a wonderful initiative and she had no doubt that it would now become a feature of the commitment of other governments throughout Australia to a genuinely inclusive, tolerant and multicultural community.

It was with great pleasure that I officiated at the opening of the centre. Of course, it was doubly pleasurable that the ACT government was able to deliver, through that centre, on a significant election promise that we had made. I note that the Liberal Party in government made the same promise time and time again but never delivered on it. It is interesting that after seven years of Liberal government, with no multicultural centre and

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