Page 2749 - Week 09 - Thursday, 8 August 2013

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video

Therefore, in recognition of the ongoing importance of the ACT’s significant natural assets, I will now briefly outline the key action items that have been agreed to following the standing committee’s report. Ecotourism and nature park assets will be given a higher profile within future tourism marketing campaigns for the ACT and surrounding region. Work in this regard is already underway following Australian Capital Tourism’s inclusion of the Tidbinbilla nature reserve experiences in the successful human brochure campaign and through the development of a 12-month partnership prospectus to maximise opportunities for leveraging off key destination marketing activities.

Increased promotion of tourism and ecotourism opportunities was a recommendation of the report on the annual and financial reports for 2011-2012 from the Standing Committee on Public Accounts. As part of the government’s response to that report, I undertook to update the Assembly by the last sitting day in August 2013 on the outcome of my directorate’s discussions with Indigenous representatives to assist with the promotion of tourism and ecotourism opportunities.

I would like to take the opportunity to update the Assembly now. The Economic Development Directorate has actively participated in discussions with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body regarding options for advancing ecotourism opportunities and exploring the role of traditional owners in showing their country to tourists. This will continue as part of the implementation of the recommendations from this latest inquiry. For example, this includes opportunities for the promotion of existing Indigenous experiences to visitors to the ACT, integration of Indigenous experiences into relevant ACT government programs and considering the potential for Indigenous business development in the tourism sector.

The ACT government will continue to contract community groups on the basis of merit to provide ecotourism services and will maintain and further enhance working relationships with those groups into the future. This is exemplified by the ongoing association with Conservation Volunteers Australia, which is now providing volunteer interpretive services at new sites in the Tidbinbilla nature reserve and, for the first time, also includes a site in the Namadgi national park.

Turning back to action items arising from the report by the Standing Committee on Climate Change, Environment and Water, the ACT government will promote and facilitate certification by Ecotourism Australia for ecotourism operators in the ACT. Tidbinbilla nature reserve and Birrigai at Tidbinbilla are currently the only ACT ecotourism operators certified by the Ecotourism Association of Australia.

Being an ecotourism accredited provider provides a number of tangible benefits to operators and also aligns with TQUAL, Australia’s national tourism accreditation framework that identifies quality tourism products. The ACT government will engage, both as a participant and as a facilitator, in partnerships which characterise the best instances of ecotourism in the country. By way of example, the ACT government will continue to enhance engagement with the Australian Alps national landscapes working group to maximise the value of the national landscapes program to the ACT. Managed by Tourism Australia and Parks Australia, the national landscapes partnership aims to achieve environmental, social and economic outcomes for Australia’s most significant natural areas and their surrounding regions.

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video