Page 1146 - Week 04 - Wednesday, 25 March 2015

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that is the objective of the government—to make it easier for the private sector to do these things. They should not be an impediment to the private sector getting on with what it does so well. Where the government have a specific objective they would like to achieve they should address that in the most appropriate way.

I thank Ms Fitzharris for bringing this on. There are some illogical errors in the way it has been done. The issue of Skywhale needs to be addressed, particularly the way the government just gave away an asset. The centenary was in 2013; here we are two years later and I do not believe we have had a report on the success of the centenary and the outcomes. In December 2012 the then tourism minister jumped up at a tourism event—I think it was at the National Gallery—and said, “Yes, we’re going to set up a task force to monitor and work out the benefits.” It would be interesting if those reports were made available in their entirety. It would be interesting to see if we were able to capitalise on the centenary, because I suspect the answer is we did not.

MR BARR (Molonglo—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Minister for Urban Renewal and Minister for Tourism and Events) (4.19): I thank Ms Fitzharris for bringing this motion forward today. Our city has a fantastic calendar of events, and 2015 has certainly cemented our city’s place on the national festival and event stage. To recap, since the beginning of the year the city has hosted Summernats; Australia Day; National Australia Day celebrations; Asian football cup matches; Cricket World Cup matches; the Big Bash final; one of the biggest exhibitions in the art world, James Turrell: A Retrospective; the National Multicultural Festival; the Enlighten festival; the Balloon Spectacular; the range of Canberra Day celebrations; the Art, Not Apart festival; and the very successful Comedy Festival that concluded on the weekend. It is a significant program.

We have sought to address some of the issues that have been identified in the past in relation to procuring events for the city in January and seeking to extend summer exhibitions at the National Gallery, as is the case with James Turrell: A Retrospective, through the winter months. Not only do we seek to encourage the development of smaller and new events but we also seek through our annual blockbuster fund to provide new and exciting events for the city at different points in the events calendar.

Events, whether sporting or cultural, bring significant economic benefits, bring people to our city, provide attractions for residents and ensure we maintain a high profile in national and international media. Events build on our strong sense of community pride and help formulate our city’s identity.

A recent survey of the community identified that 87 per cent of Canberrans support ACT government involvement in attracting and securing major events, and 92 per cent believe it is important for our city to host major events in any given year. The latest edition to our events calendar as part of the Enlighten festival, the Night Noodle Markets, generated a huge boost in crowd numbers for this event. It will be an all-time record attendance for the Enlighten festival. As the shadow minister wanders back, I note that he was a very harsh critic of the Enlighten festival. With more than 250,000 people attending this year—

Mr Coe: All-time record? It’s four years old!

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