Page 177 - Week 01 - Wednesday, 26 February 2014

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Mr Smyth: I will rephrase it, if you like, or redirect it. If it is a matter of who it has gone to, I will rephrase it for the other minister.

MADAM SPEAKER: Mr Smyth, I have ruled the question out of order, so I think we will go on.

Mr Coe: On a point of order, if we were to ask a minister on any other subject a question, there is a fair chance the other minister would step up and say, “I’m actually responsible for that. I’ll take that question.” I wonder why we are getting a different response in that scenario versus this one.

MADAM SPEAKER: I suspect it is because the minister responsible does not want to answer for the member’s private comments. I think that is probably the reason. I can only apply the standing orders. I ruled the question out of order. It was a good try, Mr Coe.

Tourism—government support

DR BOURKE: My question is to the Minister for Economic Development. Could the Minister for Economic Development and Minister for Tourism and Events update the Assembly on why the government’s investment in the ACT’s tourism attractions and events is important for the local economy?

MR BARR: I thank Dr Bourke for the question. As I am sure members will have heard me say before in this place, tourism is a vital part of the ACT’s economy and currently contributes $1.65 billion to the territory economy. It is one of the territory’s largest private sector employers, supporting around 16,000 jobs.

I am pleased to be able to advise the Assembly that our centenary year proved to be, as was anticipated, a very big year for the tourism industry. Particularly the range of big events played a big part in bringing very large numbers of interstate and international visitors to Canberra. The latest available national visitor survey statistics for the first three-quarters of the centenary year showed domestic overnight visitors were up by nearly seven per cent on the 2012 figures. The number of domestic overnight visitors recorded in terms of the ACT’s results was the most significant since the Masterpieces from Paris exhibition in 2010. Particularly pleasing was a sharp 39 per cent rise in the ACT’s holiday visitation for the quarter July through September. These figures have certainly helped to demonstrate the value that events play in providing reasons for people to visit our city.

The National Gallery of Australia staging three blockbuster exhibitions over the course of the centenary year, supported by the ACT government’s special events fund, has certainly paid dividends. The Toulouse-Lautrec: Paris & the Moulin Rouge exhibition, which concluded in April 2013, attracted a total audience of just over 172,000, with 80 per cent of those coming from interstate or overseas, contributing around $37 million to the territory economy. The winter exhibition, Turner from the Tate, attracted 153,627 visitors, with around 70 per cent of those travelling from interstate and overseas, contributing $34 million to the territory economy.

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