Page 844 - Week 03 - Wednesday, 27 February 2013

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We are providing additional support for the Canberra Convention Bureau and additional support for the national capital education tourism project. We are providing funding for the Mount Stromlo science centre and planetarium, and I know Dr Bourke was particularly involved in that initiative. We will continue the work of the red tape reduction panel with a particular focus on licensing, which certainly impacts on the tourism and hospitality area. Cuts to payroll tax in the last budget have been well received in the tourism and hospitality sector, and, of course, we are abolishing all tax on insurance. That makes a big difference to all of the small business who are currently paying tax on, for example, the motor vehicle insurance they have for vehicles they use as part of their businesses.

MADAM SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Ms Berry.

MS BERRY: Minister, why is it important for the ACT government to continue its support for events and tourism in the ACT?

MR BARR: Tourism and hospitality and the events sector are, of course, one of the largest employers in the territory. Around 15½ thousand people are employed in that sector, contributing about $1.5 billion to the territory economy, an economy that is roughly $50 billion. It is one of the larger non-government contributors to the territory economy and certainly a very large employer.

So it is important that we continue our partnership with those national institutions and other government agencies at a federal government level that are key to our tourism industry but also invest in new tourism infrastructure and provide the capacity for the private sector to invest in new tourism infrastructure. It has been particularly pleasing in recent years to see the investment at the airport, to see new hotels in the city, to see new tourism attractions, some supported by the ACT government—for example, Stromlo Forest Park and the arboretum—but also private investments.

I particularly welcome the National Zoo and Aquarium’s plans for further expansion and the National Dinosaur Museum under new ownership. There are a number of private sector operators who are making significant and very important investments in tourism in the territory. That is to be encouraged. We look forward to continued investment across the range of investment opportunities that there are in what is a growing and dynamic tourism market.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Ms Porter.

MS PORTER: Minister, is it not true that there are many events during the centenary that will be of a standard to be nominated for the tourism awards?

MR BARR: Yes, Ms Porter, there certainly are.

MADAM SPEAKER: That is probably an expression of opinion, but it is the last question of the day.

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