Page 1141 - Week 04 - Wednesday, 25 March 2015

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The Canberra Day weekend also gave an opportunity for Canberra to pay tribute to the centenary of Anzac. This came in the form of a special one-off concert featuring a traditional beating retreat ceremony by the Australian Defence Force and a performance from the Canberra Symphony Orchestra. The Symphony Orchestra presented a program of music culminating with Tchaikovsky’s rousing 1812 Overture performed alongside the combined bands of the Australian Defence Force and with guns fired over Lake Burley Griffin. Nearly 13,000 people were in attendance. The ACT government was very pleased to welcome ActewAGL as the major sponsor for Canberra’s Anzac centenary tribute. Without their valuable contribution, the event would not have been possible.

The spectacular events and the huge turnout show the growing cultural strengths of our capital. In 2015 alone Canberra has hosted matches for the Asian Cup and the Cricket World Cup; the Enlighten festival; the Lights! Canberra! Action! Festival; the fringe festival; a hugely successful Multicultural Festival; the Art, Not Apart celebration of culture; the Canberra Show; and many other events that are making Canberra such a terrific destination.

I would like to commend the work of the Chief Minister and the ACT Labor government, along with all the ACT government officials and groups involved in organising these cultural events. I would like to see the government continue to deliver these high quality cultural events for the Canberra community and to work with local businesses and the community sector to promote a wide range of events in Canberra.

We also need to support the work of Access Canberra in order to make it easier for the private sector to start and operate future events in the ACT. So far, its work has made a real difference to national events and events as different as the Forage and Hustle and Scout markets and last weekend’s fundraising walk for Tara Costigan.

Although the opposition do not quite seem to understand the difference between policy and regulation, when they do not seem to be able to understand what red tape reduction really looks like in practice, this government will continue to work actively to support events across our city. I believe that, if we do this, Canberra will continue to cultivate and maintain its reputation as a growing cultural centre in Australia. I commend the motion to the chamber.

MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (4.04): I always love these motions that have internal inconsistencies. Calling on the government to support the work of Access Canberra, which is a government initiative that is just three months old, would indicate that Ms Fitzharris has internal knowledge that the government is about to ameliorate the good work of Access Canberra, water it down or get rid of it. It is curious that, in such a short lifespan of one of the key initiatives of the new Chief Minister, we already have to have motions from the Labor backbench calling on the government to support the work of Access Canberra and make it easier for the private sector to start and operate events in the ACT. The private sector does need assistance to start and operate events in the ACT, because the major impediment to the private sector in the ACT is the ACT government.

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