Page 619 - Week 02 - Thursday, 19 February 2015

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highly successful year from a tourism perspective, and it has left us with an infrastructure legacy that allows us to continue to attract major events to the city. This is helping our engagement with South-East Asia, particularly through the Asian Cup and the Cricket World Cup. It has provided a very strong platform from which to further raise the profile of the city.

I am pleased to be able to report to Assembly members that a recent community survey identified that 87 per cent of Canberrans support the ACT government’s involvement in attracting and securing major events, and 92 per cent of Canberrans believe it is important for Canberra to host major events in any given year.

Since I established the special event fund in 2011, nearly $2½ million in funding has been shared across seven completed exhibitions with our national partners—the National Gallery, the National Library and the National Portrait Gallery, amongst others. These exhibitions have attracted nearly one million attendees and have delivered approximately $222 million in economic return to the territory. So a $2½ million investment in events has delivered a $222 million return to the territory economy.

Our latest blockbuster, James Turrell: A Retrospective, is being staged over an extended period of six months, from December 2014 through to June this year. Many elements of that exhibition are sold out well into the future, but there are of course opportunities for people to get tickets before this particular blockbuster leaves town. Having had the opportunity to view it, I strongly encourage members to encourage their constituents to attend. It is a great event for Canberra.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Ms Porter.

MS PORTER: Chief Minister, how have these events demonstrated the best of Canberra to a broad audience?

MR BARR: Given the very significant string of major event opportunities our city has hosted, the eyes of the sporting world and the artistic world have been on our city. As a city, we have consistently proved our readiness and our capacity to make the most of these opportunities and to showcase Canberra.

The Asian Cup tournament was the largest football tournament ever held in Australia. The preliminary figures indicate that it reached a worldwide television audience in excess of one billion people. It attracted tens of thousands of tourists to Australia and boosted our country’s GDP by around $23 million. Our reputation as a major events destination of course received that further boost when the Asian Football Confederation confirmed us as having the best playing surface in the tournament.

Manuka Oval is now established as the best boutique cricket ground in the country. The state-of-the-art lighting, supported by my government and by Prime Minister Gillard, has been a game changer for this city, paving the way for increased numbers of high profile international and domestic cricket fixtures.

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