Page 4736 - Week 11 - Thursday, 20 October 2011

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MS GALLAGHER: I do not have any evidence before me to say that community service workers have been threatened. I think there has been a claim made, and I have a lot of respect for Fiona Tito. I have worked with her for many years in her capacity as a community advocate and as a foster carer. I understand her deep commitment to providing care to very disadvantaged children.

But I think there needs to be a thorough examination of the claim she has made. It is appropriate that the minister responsible undertake those discussions with the Foster Care Association, and Ms Tito, if she so chooses, separately to provide all the information that she can.

I have not been contacted by the organisation or the individual with any such allegations to investigate. They were raised yesterday. The minister responded immediately. There is an appointment in her diary to meet with the organisation and to pursue this further.


MS PORTER: My question is to Mr Barr. Minister, could you please give an update on this year’s Floriade event?

MR BARR: I thank Ms Porter for the question. Members would be aware that Floriade—

Mr Hanson interjecting—

MR BARR: is indeed Australia’s premier springtime celebration and that the event continues to attract many hundreds of thousands of people to Commonwealth Park each spring. This year’s event culminated in a royal visit this morning that we all had the pleasure of attending.

I would like to observe that the labour day public holiday this year, 3 October, saw the highest recorded single-day attendance in the history of Floriade since turnstiles have been a feature of the event; almost 35,000 visitors attended on that single day. We will have a more detailed evaluation undertaken by Ernst & Young of the total attendance at the event and its economic contribution, but it is worth observing that last year there was a record of close to 475,000 visits over the month of Floriade and an economic contribution of well over $25 million.

So it continues to be the premier tourism event for the ACT and, I think we would all agree, received a wonderful boost in publicity as a result of today’s visit.

MR SPEAKER: Ms Porter, a supplementary.

MS PORTER: Could the minister please outline what benefits events such as these have to the territory?

MR BARR: Having a diverse calendar of tourism events is, indeed, very important for the tourism sector. It is important for hospitality and important for the territory’s

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