Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 10 Hansard (Wednesday, 13 September 2017) . . Page.. 3637 ..
application forms; up to this year, when the operator was notified only in the last couple of weeks that his application for the 30th Floriade had not been accepted. Minister, why is it that people wanting to continually enrich the Floriade experience have been treated with contempt; and why have applicants found out if they had a space at this year’s event only a matter of days before the event’s commencement?
MR BARR: I am very familiar with this particular case and this particular entertainer or participant in the event. There are a number of facts that Mr Wall has omitted from his preamble. In fact a number of the statements he made in that question are heavily contested and are not factually correct. But as it relates to this individual, he has a long history of not complying like every other either business trader or entertainer in this particular event, by either refusing to fill out the appropriate paperwork in order to gain entry into the venue or refusing to pay for various slots in the venue, like every other business has to.
In this particular context, the process, as I am aware, involved significant contact with Mr Alabaster. This is an issue that has arisen at this time of year almost every year in the 11 years that I have been involved as minister for tourism. It is not a new issue, and this is an individual who constantly seeks ministerial intervention to get around the rules that have been set quite appropriately by the event organisers. I will not be entertaining a political fix in relation to this issue. There is too much form and too much history in relation to Mr Alabaster.
MR WALL: Chief Minister, is it acceptable for participants in one of the territory’s premier events to be in limbo up until the weeks prior to the event to find out whether or not they have a space to participate?
MR BARR: They are not in limbo in this particular instance. As I said, there is so much history to this case. I have dealt with this as minister in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and now 2017, where this issue of not responding to invitations to participate, not wanting to be part of a change in the nature of the event is such that unfortunately there is not a prospect for Floriade 30. Should Mr Alabaster wish to participate in future Floriades, he, like everyone else, should go through the same process; no special deals.
MR PARTON: Minister, how many performers and/or entertainers at Floriade will be paying the $20,000 traders fee to participate in the 2017event?
MR BARR: I do not have the exact number of performers, traders and otherwise but, as part of staging the event, contractual arrangements are entered into with those who seek to trade within the event. It is not a free-for-all; not just anyone can rock up and decide they want to sell their goods and services inside Floriade. It is a commercial event. And this is not just a performance; this is a business seeking to sell things as well. Let’s be clear on the history of this. It is not the first time this issue has been raised, and even a modicum of research would demonstrate that this is a perennial issue with this individual. As I said, I am not going to intervene again given the long and repetitive history of this approach.