Page 1149 - Week 04 - Wednesday, 25 March 2015

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Certainly, as a minister and as a representative of the community of Molonglo, I got a lot of positive feedback about the great events that were on during that week. I know a lot of people went to the balloon festival, and I think we continue to be very lucky with our autumn festivals. They are immensely popular. At this time of year Canberra is so busy that, in some regards, it is actually hard to keep up with all of the things that are on but I think that we do have a series of great events. Our community loves them. The crowds show that, and the growing crowds for some events I think particularly reflect that.

I am quite pleased to see Enlighten coming on. I do recall, as Minister Barr just touched on, when Enlighten was first launched a couple of years ago there were some fairly scathing comments in this place about Enlighten. I think the doubters have been proven wrong and it has become enormously successful. I am pleased not just because of the politics of it but because I think it is great to see such an event that the community enjoys so much.

Certainly, though, in my ministerial portfolios I am well aware of some of the red tape issues that are involved in putting on all events, but I note that many of the community organisers find some of these things very challenging and frustrating at times. I do get feedback on that as well.

In my dual capacities as Minister for Sport and Recreation and Minister for Territory and Municipal Services I hosted a roundtable last November on event coordination red tape reduction, and this brought together representatives from sports, community, arts and music groups. These people were all involved in putting on festivals, events and races. Again in my own personal capacity in participating in some of the races that are held around town, I have had event organisers make the case to me of some of the challenges that they face in putting on these events just within TAMS and some of the requirements that they have found quite challenging.

Having had that feedback I organised this roundtable. And there were a range of issues raised in that roundtable, including multiple application forms, getting the balance right on risk management, issues of noise restriction and of course insurance issues. These were the sorts of things that were consistent across some of the groups, and I appreciated the fact that members of the roundtable were both forthright in telling us what their problems were and also very constructive in identifying some of the solutions.

They highlighted that, depending on the nature of the event, the organisers may have to interface with the NCA as well as a number of parts of ACT government including Health, EPA, Roads ACT, parks and conservation, liquor licensing and even the police. A key recommendation was that they needed a one-stop shop and an event advocate within government. So I was particularly pleased that since the roundtable the Chief Minister has taken the leadership in establishing Access Canberra, which Ms Fitzharris has referred to in her motion and her comments.

Access Canberra does bring together the shopfronts and regulatory arms into a single service which aims to streamline engagement with ACT government directorates.

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