Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 06 Hansard (Wednesday, 13 May 2015) . . Page.. 1722 ..
hundreds of jobs. The project is expected to cost $190 million to $210 million and starts within the next 10 to 18 months, subject to negotiations. Tourism and Major Events Minister John Eren said the upgrade would add thousands of square metres of space and lure 74,000 more big-spending visitors annually in a $167 million economic boost.
Taxpayers will also shell out more than an extra $80 million over four years to bid for, and sponsor, major events. Regional tourism initiatives include $19 million for the Grampians Peak Trail and $11 million to upgrade national parks tracks and facilities.
That is coming from the Victorian budget, where, in the time that we have been talking about a new facility for the ACT, they have built a new facility. They have doubled the size of it and now they are going to add to it more. It is little wonder that we lag in the tourism investment pipeline in that regard.
In the context of a couple of the other debates we are having today, I can see people from Europe, North America and other lands saying, “Yes, I’m getting on that plane. I’m going to travel and land at the Canberra International Airport. I’m going to get that cab into town to go to a convention at the new Canberra international convention centre.” I do not see them saying, “Hey, mate, I’m flying to Canberra so that I can jump on that tram.” They are not going to do that. That is why we should be building infrastructure that drives the economy in a real way.
Again, you need only look at the document produced by the then business council in which 54 of elite business and academic institutions in the town said, “Our number one priority is that we get a new convention centre.”
The motion notes that the ACT government has failed to capitalise on Canberra’s centenary celebrations in 2013. I think we are still to see the reviews of what happened and how the government has followed that up. It is a shame that the government did not follow it up. Yes, we had lots of enormous events that got us prestige and they got us media coverage. But nothing was built on it, in effect, as an economic driver in the long term.
Let us face it; these opportunities do not come along very often. The government has failed to capitalise. Indeed, until December 2012 the government did not even have a review process to determine what would be the likely effects until, under pressure from the Canberra Liberals, they announced their task force to look at it.
From the data that I have presented, the ACT tourism sector has experienced decreases in overnight trips—overnight expenditure trips—to the ACT, domestic overnight visitation, average per night expenditure and tourism investment. What we are calling on is for the Minister for Tourism and Events to report to the Assembly the government’s plan for restoring the tourism sector’s confidence in the ACT by the end of the first sitting week in August 2015.
It is important that we have a long-term plan for tourism in the ACT. If we go to the TRA’s conclusions, it is quite clear that people’s perceptions of the ACT are still clouded. Canberra for a long time has been a victim of other people’s perceptions of