Page 3530 - Week 11 - Thursday, 19 September 2013

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Motion by Mr Barr proposed:

That the Assembly do now adjourn.

Planning—convention centre

MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (5.03): Mr Assistant Speaker, it is curious that the three of us are here because Mr Rattenbury, Mr Barr and I had a very pleasant dinner together last evening, which people might find a bit surprising.

Mr Rattenbury interjecting—

MR SMYTH: As Mr Rattenbury points out, there were other people there. Not that I drink wine, but there was a certain amount of Canberra region wine on the table. The subject for discussion and the guest of honour was one Larry Oltmanns, who has today been running a workshop, and will continue to do so tomorrow, on the very interesting subject of a new convention centre for the ACT. To give the department and the minister their due, moneys from Economic Development have funded that. That is a great thing. It is, I think, one of the first positive signs we have seen from the government with regard to the possibility of a new convention centre after 12 years of waiting for one.

I would remind members that Ted Quinlan as the tourism minister and the business and economic minister in December 2001 said that by December 2002 they would have selected the site for the convention centre and be getting on with the job. Here we are in September 2013 and I am not sure a site has genuinely been confirmed.

I think we need to set up a model to deliver the convention centre and determine what is required so that we have the functional requirements agreed to. That includes making sure that there is space for future expansion. These centres generate a lot of business. There is a lot of competition and if you do not keep up, you lose. We then need to make sure that it happens.

I think as a sign of the support for a new facility in the ACT one only needs to go to “Canberra—the meeting place of Australia. The national capital’s need for Australia Forum convention centre” from July 2013 from the Canberra Convention Bureau, Think Canberra and the Canberra Business Council. There is quite an extraordinary array of organisations on pages 8 or 9 who have signed up to the need for the new convention centre and the statement of support.

I am going to read them all. I will do an Alistair Coe and read a list of names. These are the national institutions that have all signed up to supporting the development of the Australia Forum convention centre as a priority: the Australian Academy of Science, the Australian National University, the Australian Institute of Sport, the Australian Catholic University, the Australian National Botanic Gardens, the Australian War Memorial, the CSIRO Discovery Centre, the Museum of Australian

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