Page 4115 - Week 13 - Thursday, 31 October 2013
numbers. It is interesting that, despite going through our first winter, we did not see a large drop-off. I think one of the biggest weekends the arboretum has seen was in June this year. We are learning all the time.
There are a number of feedback systems currently in place. The usual one is the Chief Minister’s talkback, ringing the radio station, but then there are other ones. There is a feedback book. There is also feedback to Canberra Connect which has been provided, I think, to the shop and the restaurant up there.
In its early days, there was a lot of concern around the coffee or the wait for food and drink. We have been trying to respond to that with the addition of coffee carts, both inside the visitor centre and—
Mr Coe: Are they vending machines?
MS GALLAGHER: with the playground now operational, outside the visitor centre, with healthy choices, you will be pleased to know, Mr Coe. There is the occasional sweet treat, I think, on the menu. They have been encouraged to look for healthy alternatives or, importantly, bring their own food up there, where we welcome people’s healthy picnics. Enjoy the great outdoors and engage in all of that wide space for all that physical activity that you need to complement your healthy diet and lifestyle.
National Arboretum Canberra—photography
MRS JONES: My question is to the Chief Minister. Minister, on 21 October this year a member of the public posted online that the National Arboretum wanted to charge PHOTOWALK Canberra—a free community photography event—$200 for a permit to take photographs at the National Arboretum. Additionally, the Canberra Times on 3 July 2013 reported that the National Arboretum would charge $200 an hour for couples who are married elsewhere but use the arboretum for their wedding pictures. I understand that this decision has possibly been reversed. Minister, why would the arboretum be charging the public to take photographs in that place?
MS GALLAGHER: The decision to have a photo fee put in place from the beginning—and this was something that was put to me as minister and I agreed to at the time—was to align it with similar facilities around Australia and, as I understand it, places like the Botanic Gardens, where they charge a fee for professional photography use associated with weddings.
I was never convinced about that fee, but I am also interested in getting a revenue stream for the arboretum. It has a $3 million operational budget. We are trying to make it self-funding. That is what we would like to see. At the beginning it was about making sure that we had fees in there that would ensure a revenue stream. However, I said at the time that I would review it.
I have certainly had correspondence on this issue. It would be probably, outside of the lines for coffee, the biggest issue I have had in the last 12 months. Last week, during a