Page 1218 - Week 04 - Thursday, 26 March 2015

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MR BARR: Having all of the regulatory approval processes in one place gives the government a clear picture of exactly what regulations apply to particular events and sectors and helps us to quickly identify and change inefficient regulations. Over the coming months, learning from the experiences that Access Canberra has had already, we will see joined-up government services and application processes, removing multiple application forms and bringing all the information about event management into one place. This will offer a coordinated and integrated regulator that serves the city well.

Examples of this in recent times include, just a couple of weekends ago, the Art, Not Apart festival, where Access Canberra worked hand in hand with the organisers to help them grow what has been a small arts and cultural festival into a significant event enjoyed by more than 18,000 Canberrans. We have supported community events such as the fundraising walk for Tara Costigan last weekend. And there have been a number of high profile examples of businesses in Braddon, for example, who have been supported by Access Canberra to achieve a variety of outcomes, including getting better food safety and gaming regulation outcomes that allow innovation to occur in Braddon.

Access Canberra has already seen an increase in the number of requests for assistance by event organisers and will continue to improve its services to ensure that those who want to put on great events in our city are supported to do so.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Dr Bourke.

DR BOURKE: Chief Minister, why is it important for government to support events and event organisers?

MR BARR: This industry—tourism and events and hospitality—is worth $1.8 billion to the territory economy currently and is one of our largest private sector employers. Seventeen thousand of the 215,000-odd jobs in our economy are in this sector. So it is an important one for the city. It is certainly one of the pillars of economic growth for Canberra in the future. The government wishes to work effectively with local businesses and the community sector to support and promote the wide range of events our city is able to host.

In the debate yesterday we had the opportunity to outline alternative visions for the events sector in this city. We recognise the importance of improving the regulatory environment and ensuring that there is appropriate funding and support for new events, for ongoing events and also to attract new blockbuster events to the city.

The return on investment from our events fund has been significant. Not only has it been important to deliver on a range of social and cultural outcomes for Canberrans and for our city but it has contributed significantly to growing our economy at a time when we face significant challenges from the federal Liberal government.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Ms Porter.

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