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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 04 Hansard (Wednesday, 25 March 2015) . . Page.. 1148 ..

Oval which were delivered in the centenary year and which provided for this city the capability to host international cricket, day-night fixtures, and, of course, a greater level of AFL.

Mr Coe: Have they paid the bills yet?

MR BARR: I note the churlish interjection from across the chamber, but that was something that a lot of people said would never be able to be delivered for Canberra. We delivered those lights at Manuka Oval in record time. That has allowed significant growth of cricket and AFL in Canberra. That is something to celebrate.

Mr Coe: It would be nice if the subbies got paid, though.

MR BARR: Despite the interjections from Mr Coe, I note he and his colleagues see no problems with turning up and accepting the hospitality at Manuka Oval and attending all of the events there. If he was so concerned about those issues, and if there was any substance to them—which there is not—then perhaps the Deputy Leader of the Opposition might have some credibility in his interjections.

In the context of our events agenda, it is strong and growing. We are seeing significant events that started in the centenary year continuing to go from strength to strength. That is very encouraging to see, and we look forward to that continuing. We will, of course, be focusing our efforts in relation to our blockbuster fund on securing those major national and international level events that deliver a significant return to the city’s economy.

The evidence so far from that program is that, for around $2.5 million of public investment, it has generated more than $200 million for the territory economy. As a return on investment, in addition to providing some unique experiences for Canberrans, it has also delivered in spades for the territory economy, and the feedback from the community is overwhelmingly positive. Regardless of what the shadow treasurer says in this place, I know and my colleagues know that the events program for Canberra is growing and going from strength to strength and is well received by the Canberra community.

Again I point to the simple fact that 92 per cent of locals believe it is important for Canberra to host major events, and 87 per cent support ACT government involvement in securing them. That gives the government a great deal of confidence that we are on the right track with our events program. I thank Ms Fitzharris for raising this matter today. You will note I have resisted in 10 minutes talking about Mr Smyth’s fetish with hot air balloons.

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (4.29): I will be supporting this motion today. I think that, as members have touched on and as Ms Fitzharris notes in her motion, the Canberra Day events and the Enlighten festival were a great success this year. It always, of course, helps to get some good weather, and we did get some great weather this year. Certainly the night that I attended Enlighten there were huge crowds, and people seemed to be having a great time, as they do.

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