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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 10 Hansard (Wednesday, 13 September 2017) . . Page.. 3656 ..

Canberra’s tourism and events industries are on fire. We are transforming into a city of festivals as we see more, bigger and better events stretch across the calendar. And our focus on improving our major events is paying dividends as we see our tourism industry booming with huge increases in visitor numbers and expenditure.

I commend the government for its foresight and for its creativity in driving the major events strategy and if the past few years are anything to go by I am confident the calls for continued efforts to explore new options for special events in Canberra will be answered with exciting new offerings.

MS STEPHEN-SMITH (Kurrajong—Minister for Community Services and Social Inclusion, Minister for Disability, Children and Youth, Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Minister for Workplace Safety and Industrial Relations) (4.05): I rise to speak in support of Mr Pettersson’s motion on major events in the ACT. As set out in the motion, the tourism sector in the territory continues to grow, as part of the government’s efforts to diversify our economy. Earlier today we spoke about the government’s responsible fiscal management and the AAA credit rating that that has resulted in. That is one element of the government’s strategy, but diversifying the economy has been an equally important part of the ACT weathering the downturn in federal government jobs as a result of the federal Liberals’ cuts.

Diversifying the economy is critical to the future of our city and our tourism industry is a cornerstone of our economic diversification strategy. The ACT government remains committed to working with the sector to attract more visitors, with the aspirational goal of growing the ACT’s overnight visitor expenditure to $2½ billion by 2020, as outlined in the major events strategy.

As Mr Pettersson set out in his motion, major events play an important part in attracting these visitors to the capital, contributing significantly to the life and economy of our city. The major events strategy released this week recognises the importance of major events and the vital role they play in making our city a great place to live, work and visit. The strategy provides a framework to inform our approach to attracting, staging and promoting major events in the ACT, ensuring we maximise economic and social benefits to strengthen our position as an event-friendly city.

Achieving this will involve supporting the array of major events that are already held in Canberra and exploring opportunities to establish new events to build our portfolio. This will not only help grow the contribution of visitors to our local economy but also promote and shape Canberra as a vibrant, dynamic, creative and inclusive city for all people, again, reflecting that vibrant, sustainable and inclusive cities are built by governments with a vision for a better future.

It is important to acknowledge that the benefits of our major events go beyond the obvious economic benefit. As the strategy identifies, events also create social and community benefits. On that note, of course, I cannot miss the opportunity to plug the event that perhaps contributes the most to the vibrancy and livability of this city in

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