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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 02 Hansard (Tuesday, 4 March 2008) . . Page.. 412 ..

spectacular over Canberra in April. You gave $70,000 to Balloon Aloft as “representing the best value for taxpayers’ money available”. Minister, how much funding and in-kind support, including ACT government staff resources, will be provided to Balloon Aloft to operate this event?

MR BARR: I thank Mr Smyth for the question. I can advise the Assembly that Balloon Aloft’s fee for service for this event will be $10,000, and that will be taken from the overall budget of $70,000 for the event. This arrangement was entered into through a single-select process that was approved on the basis of the tight time frame involved, the limited number of local suppliers and the relatively small costs involved.

I might add that this is in contrast to the $90,000 event management fee from an overall budget request of $493,000 claimed by the previous operator in their applications for funding for a nine-day event which was later reduced to a four or five-day event.

Mr Stanhope: Give us those numbers again.

MR BARR: They are: $10,000 from an overall budget of $70,000 available to run a nine-day event.

It is also worth noting that the government has, through Australian Capital Tourism and through the Chief Minister’s special events unit, provided significant in-kind support to the balloon event since its inception, but most particularly in the last five or six years when it was run by CBF. That involved hours of voluntary time for the event from staff within Australian Capital Tourism and from within the Chief Minister’s Department. That involved a whole range of things, from setting up the village every morning, to marshalling traffic, to providing a range of other in-kind support, including marketing and promotion through Australian Capital Tourism’s website and other publications, including email newsletters and the quarterly What’s on in Canberra publications. We have a track record of providing considerable in-kind assistance to this event over a number of years, and we will continue to do so through this year’s event.

But it is interesting to contrast what is provided and what was proposed to be provided by the previous operators as opposed to the group that we are now supporting to provide this event. It is a $10,000 fee for service as opposed to a $90,000 event management fee for a nine-day event.

That is the other key point. When the government’s offer to the previous organisers was rejected, particularly when they have contacted you over a number of months refusing to confirm an event even eight weeks out, announcing on their website that the event could not be confirmed and would not be able to until mid February, it was sensible for the government to have undertaken some risk management strategies to ensure that we did have a balloon event this year.

I am very pleased to be able to advise the Assembly that we will have an outstanding balloon event, delivered in a value-for-money way for taxpayers, that extends over two weekends, nine days, and incorporates a mass balloon ascension and community

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