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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 10 Hansard (Wednesday, 13 September 2017) . . Page.. 3654 ..

I am particularly pleased that this motion has a commitment to increasing the amount of local content in events. I understand that different events will have different requirements but we must make sure not to overlook our local and aspiring entertainers, performers and artists. This is particularly important if we are going to have a Canberra arts biennial event that will showcase Canberra’s leading innovation network and creative and cultural industries.

We must also ensure that, where we employ local artists for their work or provide funding for local performers to contribute to flagship events, we actually pay them properly. It is a good way to showcase local talent and a good way to express the fact that we value our local community and that we want to support those making a living, or trying to make a living, through the arts. It is an opportunity to nurture partnerships between government, local businesses and artists and performers in a way that will provide an array of major events that will attract local, interstate and international visitors to our city.

I support this motion and I look forward to the development of the strategy and attending many more major events in Canberra.

MS CHEYNE (Ginninderra) (3.59): “Blooming gorgeous”, “a must-see in the capital”, “no need to visit the Netherlands”: that is how visitors have described Floriade on a well-known travel review site. After our long winters, Floriade ushers in the warmth and the colour of spring. The festival has become part of the fabric of Canberra. The Ferris wheel popping up on our skyline is a sign that spring is just around the corner, if we go by the Equinox, and we wait with excitement and relief for the new season.

The lawns of Commonwealth Park burst with life as the bulbs open and we welcome thousands of visitors to our city. Canberra is becoming a festival city, with Floriade now being joined by a string of festivals throughout the year that celebrate our seasons, culture and arts, from the National Folk Festival and Enlighten to the Balloon Spectacular, Skyfire, Summernats, Australia Day and New Year’s Eve celebrations.

Locals come out in droves for our festivals, awed by the sights and satiated by the local culinary offerings at these world-class events. Visitors from around Australia and across the globe also pour into our city to see what all the fuss is about and, as we heard from the reviews, they are not disappointed. Floriade attracts more than a 400,000 visitors every year. For a city of only about 400,000 people, that number is huge. Enlighten and the Multicultural Festival also attract over 280,000 people each.

The ACT government recognises the cultural and economic importance of our major events and festivals. We had the foresight to establish the special events fund, now the major events strategy, to ensure an ongoing focus on the development of existing and new events in our city, and we are seeing outstanding results.

The figures for international visitors to the ACT in the past year are in and it was a record year. International visitor numbers are at an all-time high. Over 200,000 international visitors explored Canberra in 2016-17. That is up a huge nine

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