Page 1292 - Week 04 - Thursday, 10 April 2008

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Debate interrupted in accordance with standing order 74 and the resumption of the debate made an order of the day for a later hour.

Sitting suspended from 12.30 to 2.30 pm.

Questions without notice

World Youth Day

MR SESELJA: My question is to the Chief Minister. World Youth Day is being held in Sydney later this year and will attract tens of thousands to Australia. As part of the lead-up to World Youth Day, events that have the potential to attract thousands of visitors to the ACT are being held in Canberra. Could you please outline for the Assembly what support the ACT government has agreed to provide for World Youth Day in Canberra? What, if any, additional support is being considered?

MR STANHOPE: I thank the Leader of the Opposition for the question. The ACT government—most particularly through the Department of Disability, Housing and Community Services—has been very heavily involved with the Catholic organising committee on the World Youth Day and, most particularly, those aspects of the World Youth Day which will be conducted here in the ACT. Indeed, we have already agreed to a significant level and range of support for the organisers, the Catholic Church.

I was most pleased—just in the last couple of weeks—to dine with the Archbishop to further discuss the level and range of support which the ACT government has provided and is able to provide in the future. The first level of support we provided for World Youth Day—particularly as it affects most directly the ACT—was to agree to a request from the Archbishop to support the visit and the living expenses of all members of the East Timorese or Dili diocese to travel to and participate in World Youth Day activities, both here in the ACT and in Sydney.

We have agreed to provide significant support. This is being arranged through the events and communications area of the Chief Minister’s Department. In relation to information for all visitors to the ACT during events here, there is the development of the publication, and all the printing and dissemination of information brochures on Canberra with maps. We have agreed to provide significant assistance with transport throughout the ACT. We have agreed to allow the free use of all facilities at EPIC for the duration of the event and celebration in the ACT at quite a significant cost.

We are continuing to negotiate on a range of other possible support initiatives, most particularly in relation to transport. I would have to take a briefing on the specifics in terms of days and costs. But those are the broad outlines of the broad range of support which the ACT government is providing and will continue to provide.

Balloon festival

MR SMYTH: My question is to the Minister for Tourism, Sport and Recreation. Minister, we are now aware that the Chief Minister and you approved the change in operator for Canberra’s new balloon event “with nothing in writing”, without there

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