Page 3216 - Week 10 - Thursday, 17 September 2015

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an outbound and inbound perspective. The Canberra Airport catchment is home to more than 900,000 people, providing a significant outbound market for new international services.

The government has committed $1.6 million over two years to the cooperative airline stimulus fund in 20l5-16. The government has proactively pursued the opportunity to establish direct services from Singapore supported by a number of meetings with key stakeholders in the past two years. In my capacity as Minister for Tourism and Events I visited Singapore in April 2013 and held meetings with executives of the Singapore Tourism Board and Changi Airport, as well as senior Singapore government representatives. The Managing Director of Canberra Airport, Mr Stephen Byron, and ACT government officials travelled to Singapore in late August 2013 to present the Singapore business case and progress discussions on direct services between Canberra and Singapore.

Further work and engagement on facilitating direct services from Singapore occurred as part of a trade mission to Singapore from 16 to 21 June 2014. I recently visited Singapore and met with the Singapore Airlines Chairman, Mr Stephen Lee, to press our case. I was accompanied by Mr Terry Snow and Mr Stephen Byron, and we held discussions on trade, business and investment opportunities between Canberra and Singapore.

Efforts to pursue trans-Tasman services were progressed as part of my visit to New Zealand on 26 and 27 February this year. This included meetings with Air New Zealand, the Auckland Airport and senior representatives of the New Zealand government.

The government, through VisitCanberra, has engaged the services of an aviation expert to update business cases for direct services between Canberra and New Zealand and Canberra and Singapore. The revised business cases incorporate additional consumer research undertaken in the catchment area and continue to demonstrate the opportunity for Canberra to host direct international flights.

The revised business cases for services to New Zealand and beyond destinations, including the United States and the Pacific Islands, has been finalised and will be presented to aviation and airport stakeholders in New Zealand this month.

In summary, the establishment of direct international services is a high priority for the government, the Canberra business sector, the Canberra Airport and, indeed, for the wider Canberra community. Experience in other gateway ports with similar size and catchments has shown it can take several years of dedicated and coordinated effort to attract sustainable international services.

The coordinated efforts of the ACT government, the Canberra Airport Group and Canberra business and community leaders have greatly elevated our city’s prospects. This ongoing cooperative approach is a key goal for the government as we look at tangible ways to diversify our city’s economic base and improve the standard of living for all Canberrans.

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