Page 1391 - Week 04 - Wednesday, 28 March 2012

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I had the opportunity when I was in New Zealand to meet with counterparts in Wellington—Wellington airport, Wellington Tourism and Air New Zealand—to discuss these proposals. Certainly, there was a consensus reached from those discussions that with the appropriate level of investment and collaboration at both destinations we could attract a significant level of business and leisure travellers. We have had some very positive discussions with Tourism Australia to market cooperatively into the cities that would be serviced by direct flights. This work comes on the back of a budget commitment previously of $100,000 towards the airline access development fund. From this work has come a demand analysis report—which included consultation with key stakeholders—that identifies and evaluates potential markets.

We will continue to work closely with the airport in relation to this particular proposal. I note there has been some very positive feedback from within the business sector—the ACT Exporters Network. We have received emails from a number of businesses that operate on both sides of the Tasman who are very keen to see these direct flights come to fruition. They have noted the significant cost savings to their businesses that would be associated with such an activity. We will continue to work towards that goal. I certainly welcome other broad support that we have received for that from the community to date.

In relation to the series of amendments that have been proposed by Mr Smyth and Mr Rattenbury, the government is largely content to support a number of them. We think that there could be some further strengthening of some elements of Mr Smyth’s amendments. We do not disagree with moving forward the national significance of the celebration of the centenary of the foundation of Australia’s capital city. We are happy to see that. We think that, as a statement of fact, it would be worth recognising the $42 million that the commonwealth have provided for Constitution Avenue and the money that they have committed in relation to the centenary celebrations.

We recognise that what is needed is bipartisan support from the federal parliament for the ACT centenary celebrations and bipartisan support for restoration of funding to the National Capital Authority. In fact, what we should be doing is writing to all political parties, and indeed all of the independents in federal parliament, advising them of the Assembly’s position. That, I think, would be a constructive way forward. We would like to see commitments from other political parties in the federal arena to the national celebration of Canberra’s centenary and to restoring funding for the NCA. As we know, the government is in minority in both chambers and it requires the support of other parties. It would be good to see the federal Liberal Party supporting this as well. (Time expired.)

Debate (on motion by Ms Hunter) adjourned to the next sitting.

Financial Management (Cost of Living) Amendment Bill 2012

Debate resumed from 22 February 2012, on motion by Mr Smyth:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

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