Page 2719 - Week 08 - Tuesday, 15 August 2017

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MS CHEYNE (Ginninderra) (4.56): I love this city. I take great pride in calling it my home, and I relish the mix of nature, culture and career opportunities that we have on our doorstep. But it is the last of those, career opportunities, that is the deciding factor in many people moving to Canberra or staying here after completing their education. The unique work offerings in Canberra are one of our great strengths. From world-class education and cultural institutions to federal and territory governments, the Defence Force and a prosperous private sector, we have a lot on the table.

Without a doubt, a strong economy and job market are key players in ensuring our future success. We have been excelling on this front in recent years. Some 4,000 new jobs were created in 2015-16, and we backed this up with another 2,500 jobs last financial year. We have the second lowest unemployment level of any jurisdiction in Australia. To say that we are punching above our weight is an understatement. We will not rest on our laurels. We want to see the ACT continue to grow. That is why the ACT government is investing in more and better jobs for the territory. We are investing across a wide range of sectors, from tourism and events to the arts, sport, innovation and trades.

The tourism industry is a big boon for Canberra’s economy. We are already seeing more people come to Canberra, stay for longer and spend more money while they are here. And for every person who books a flight here, stays in our hotels, eats at our restaurants and visits our attractions, our economy grows. It will not be slowing down any time soon. The ACT government is investing $4.1 million in our tourism industry over the next four years to promote Canberra as a holiday and business tourism destination. We will keep working to get Canberra on more flight paths, both internationally and domestically.

As you well know, we have built a strong relationship with Singapore Airlines and now have the benefit of successful flights between Singapore, Canberra and our friends over the ditch. Qatar Airways has announced Canberra to Doha flights, starting early next year. Singapore opens us up to all of Asia. Doha will open us up to Europe. And we are working on connections to North America from New Zealand. With our efforts, Canberra will be an attractive destination for people from all over the world.

The ACT government will establish in this budget a new major events fund to attract and acquire major events and shows for the territory—a bonus for tourists and for the locals. Over four years, $7.5 million will be spent to put on events that will dazzle and excite Canberra punters. Calendars will fill up as Enlighten and Floriade return, as well as SpringOUT, the Canberra Writers Festival and Canberra Day celebrations, among many others. We will also be treated to the Queen’s Baton Relay in the lead-up to the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast. Canberra will proudly be the starting line for the relay. These events not only generate jobs and revenue to build our economy; they also cultivate our culture, excite our community and shape Canberra’s reputation as a great place to visit and to live.

Of course, our investment in the economy is not limited to just tourism and events. Over the next four years we will see significant investment in the arts and sport in

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