Page 1557 - Week 05 - Thursday, 11 April 2013

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Rowing Championships, which will have 900 participants, will be held from 25 to 28 April. The Australian Little Athletics Championships, which will have 200 participants—175 from interstate—will be held on 28 April. The Special Olympics Centenary Games, with 580 participants, coaches, carers and family members—522 from interstate and overseas—was held from 5 to 8 April. The Australian Futsal Championships in January 2013 had about 620 interstate participants staying in the ACT for five nights. The Kanga Cup is expected to attract several thousand people from overseas and interstate. And this weekend about 6,000 participants will take part in the Australian Running Festival, with 60 per cent of those coming from outside the ACT.

In addition, Sportenary is offering 100 community events over 50 weeks of this centenary year to showcase a diversity of sport and recreation activities, facilities and local attractions throughout the ACT to help get Canberrans off the bench and start participating in sport. Sportenary activities engage our many community organisations and elite sporting teams, bringing into play our local sportsgrounds, beautiful lakes and abundant nature parks.

As a catalyst for change, major events can elevate our city’s national and global stature and accelerate its economic and social development. Events allow host cities the chance to accelerate infrastructure development, improve public image and foster collaboration between the public sector, the private sector and community organisations. For these reasons, the ACT government is continuing with its strategy to invest in infrastructure and support the hosting and delivering of major sporting and cultural events for Canberra.

MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (4.04): I thank Ms Berry for putting this issue down as a matter of public importance. It certainly is, but I think it is worthy of deeper analysis than just simply reading a list of “we have had these events and these people have attended”. You have to ask the question: what is the purpose and what does it bring to the community and, more importantly, what does it leave in the community? As a number of people have noted over time, often blockbusters do not make money for the organisation that puts them on—hence the need for sponsorship; we all understand that—but what is the impact on the local community? I will read part of an article from Michaela Boland, the national arts writer from the Weekend Australian, on 6 April. Michaela says:

ANU art history professor Sasha Grishin has seen the budgets and costings of some of the recent major art exhibitions. He says they often operate at a loss, but they are umbrella events around which merchandising and hotel rooms are sold.

“The economy of blockbusters changed dramatically about five years ago, when the budgets blew out,” he says.

Grishin is partially referring to the Canberra gallery spending $13.1m to organise, host and promote the Masterpieces show, which generated ticket sales worth just $7.7m but an estimated $94m fillip for the economy.

“Blockbusters quite frequently lose money; it’s the ramifications for the broader local community that matter,” he says.

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