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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2016 Week 01 Hansard (Tuesday, 9 February 2016) . . Page.. 48 ..

including a regional freight plan, activities that support investment in the ACT and strengthening our cultural and business ties and business-to-business relationships, particularly in Singapore and Wellington.

The ACT government continues to work hard to diversify our economy by building on our city’s strengths and knowledge-based industries and links to the rest of the world. Significant transport links like these are a key part of our city’s economic transformation and the new direct international air services will greatly benefit the higher education sectors, our exporting businesses, two-way trade for our city, investment, tourism and cultural ties between the respective destinations.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Ms Porter.

MS PORTER: Chief Minister, what actions did the government take to encourage consideration by airlines of a direct Canberra route?

MR BARR: This is a project that I have been working on for a number of years. I first visited Singapore at the beginning of 2013, and at that point I held meetings with executives of the Singapore Tourism Board, Changi airport and Singapore government representatives, as well as Singapore Airlines. The managing director of Canberra Airport, Stephen Byron, accompanied by ACT government officials, again travelled to Singapore in August 2013 to present the business case to Singapore Airlines and to progress discussions on direct services between Canberra and Singapore. Further work occurred as part of a trade mission to Singapore in June 2014. Last year I again visited Singapore and met with Singapore Airlines chairman, Mr Stephen Lee, to press our case, and held discussions on the trade, business and investment opportunities between Canberra and Singapore.

I also actively pursued the trans-Tasman part of this service, as part of a series of visits to New Zealand, culminating in the Australian New Zealand Leadership Forum in February last year, where I met, not for the first time, with representatives of Air New Zealand, Auckland and Wellington airports and representatives of the New Zealand government, as well as holding meetings with our counterparts in the Wellington City Council.

In summary, the establishment of these direct international services has been a high priority for the government, for the local business community, for the airport and indeed a priority for the wider Canberra community. Working together, we have achieved a fantastic outcome for Canberra. I am sure I speak on behalf of all Canberrans in thanking Singapore Airlines for their commitment to Canberra, and we look forward to working with them in the years ahead.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Ms Burch.

MS BURCH: What has been the reaction of the business sector to this announcement?

MR BARR: It is fair to say the reaction from the business sector has been extremely positive. Even those opposite have struggled to find anything to criticise in relation to

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