Page 3194 - Week 10 - Thursday, 15 August 2013

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convention centre in the ACT. It is a very a good read, and it culminates with the fact that Minister Barr will be there on the evening for drinks. The story is headed “Canberra’s largest conference centre refurbishment unveiled”, and it states:

Exhibition Park in Canberra (EPIC) has unveiled modern, elegant spaces to provide a welcoming atmosphere for industry and social events available to the local community and interstate business.

The newly refurbished Conference centre provides event planners with an extraordinary opportunity for hosting remarkable business and social gatherings … The new interior design creates a contemporary and stylish space that includes operable walls, allowing event planners to create enclosed rooms for conference sessions, or broad open spaces for exhibitions and breakout sessions … Boosting a welcoming new foyer featuring purpose built registration area and conference secretariat, guests will be made to feel comfortable in the main room which accommodates up to 540 people …

It goes on and talks about various aspects, and it is a very valid place for conventions in the ACT. But it is lovely because it finishes with:

On Monday afternoon—

which was 29 July—

Minister for Tourism and Events, Andrew Barr, MLA officially revealed the new look facility at a ribbon cutting ceremony.

It is interesting that EPIC has now grown to be the largest conference centre in the ACT. I wonder if the management of the National Convention Centre might have something to say about that.

But EPIC is an important part of our economy and fills a number of purposes. The minister ran through some of them, everything from the farmers markets to the Summernats. At last we have some money in there to see the low cost tourist accommodation project move ahead. Certainly the grey nomads and the campervans and the camping grounds would be welcome.

But, again, it highlights that we actually do not have an accommodation strategy for the tourism industry in the ACT. For years I have asked for this and for years the minister says, “But I have got blocks to sell.” He does not understand a sales program versus a strategy to make sure we cover all the bases. Whilst we welcome the work that will be done at EPIC, it highlights that there is still much to be done to facilitate the support required to make sure we as a city get the full benefits from our tourism sector. I look forward to seeing such a strategy detailed by the government in the future.

Proposed expenditure agreed to.

Proposed expenditure—Part 1.23—Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission—$526,000 (net cost of outputs), totalling $526,000.

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