Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 09 Hansard (Wednesday, 23 August 2017) . . Page.. 3288 ..
our natural assets. Such a policy must also focus on preserving and protecting these assets for future generations. I am pleased that Ms Orr's motion makes mention of the need to balance these sometimes competing interests, and I look forward to seeing how a future ecotourism strategy addresses this issue. I am happy, on behalf of the ACT Greens, to lend our support to this motion.
MR WALL (Brindabella) (5.57): I am pleased to speak to the motion brought here today by Ms Orr that relates to the value that we as Canberrans place on our natural environment. I would like to focus today on the potential tourism opportunities that exist, and the revenue streams through ecotourism which could be gained by showcasing what we as residents of the bush capital have access to on a daily basis.
By the territory’s own calculations, tourism continues to be one of the fastest growing industries in the ACT, contributing over $2 billion annually to the ACT’s economy, and to date employing 16,400 Canberrans. The fact that the current Labor-Greens government is only just talking about an ecotourism policy is, to my mind, a huge missed opportunity, an opportunity that they have discussed for many years but have failed to act and capitalise on effectively.
The national parks in the ACT region are our jewels in the crown. There are many recreational pursuits that can bring revenue into other jurisdictions while managing to maintain respectful attention to the ecosystems, that other drawcard. Just one of these pursuits, one very close to my heart, is recreational fishing, a popular pastime for Canberrans in our own backyard and a key destination for interstate anglers. Currently New South Wales presents far more opportunity for recreational fishermen, particularly in freshwater alpine streams, than is available in the ACT in terms of tourism spend.
A department of primary industry report in 2013 stated that the economic output for recreational fishing in all New South Wales at that time was $3.42 billion, with associated employment of 14,254 equivalent full-time jobs. This included $186.1 million of expenditure by interstate visiting fishermen, or fisher people, a significant amount of which no doubt would have come from many Canberrans’ pockets. Creating more opportunities for pursuits such as this within the ACT will bring the opportunity for some great added economic benefit, as New South Wales has gained. We may well be the beneficiaries should the territory choose to open up these types of avenues.
This is also where I take some issue with Ms Orr’s motion on point 1(c) of her motion, which states:
… human activity can and has in many instances impacted … on our natural environment …
At 6 pm, in accordance with standing order 34, the debate was interrupted. The motion for the adjournment of the Assembly having been put and negatived, the debate was resumed.