Page 3908 - Week 11 - Tuesday, 19 September 2017
jurisdictions. We on this side of the Assembly do commend the ACT government for the work they have done in promoting the ACT abroad and, in particular, for their assistance in bringing ACT businesses to other markets, most notably Singapore, New Zealand, China and Japan.
There are many other opportunities that I think must not be overlooked. The most obvious one, and the nearest to Australia, is Indonesia. There is a tremendous opportunity, I believe. The middle class is growing at an extraordinary rate in Indonesia. With that comes disposable income. With that comes a demand for additional goods and services, and I believe the ACT is very well placed to meet some of that demand that will grow out of Indonesia.
For the year ending March this year, the ACT had 214,000 international visitors. This was up 7½ per cent on the previous year. There were 4.55 million international visitor nights, and this was down. However, it was based, I think, on a particularly good year; that is, to March 2016. To that end, I think we have to make sure that we are looking at a trend series rather than simply year by year. There is about $520 million of international expenditure here in the ACT, and the average international visitor spend was $114 per night.
There are approximately 16,000 people employed in the tourism sector here in the ACT. That makes it a considerable part of the ACT economy, especially when you factor in just how many jobs are located in the public sector. In the private sector, to have 16,000 in one sector, in one industry, is a considerable portion of that employment.
It is important to note the many opportunities that Canberra does have and that we are yet to reach our potential in. Of course, education, finance and associated services, IT, food and hospitality are just some of the opportunities that we have. Canberra is, I think, punching above its weight in each of those, but there is still considerably more that could be done in order to expose these sectors and these industries to the world.
The Canberra Liberals are supporters of the autonomous vehicles sector and the opportunities that exist in that space. I note that the government is keen to undertake a trial and is indeed undertaking a trial, but I think there is considerably more that can be done to actually make the ACT a far more attractive space for investment in autonomous vehicles. The vice-president of research and development for General Motors, based in Detroit in the United States, said that Australia was the best country in the world for autonomous vehicles and Canberra is the ideal choice for such investment. With that said, I really do urge the ACT to take up that opportunity that has been presented and made obvious by General Motors’ vice-president of research and development.
With regard to the international markets, hands down the largest number of international visitors comes from China. The UK and the USA are still steady but they are decreasing. That is understandable when you consider the opportunities that are now opening up with regard to New Zealand and Singapore but also India and Indonesia. The Canberra Liberals firmly believe that the relationship with India has considerable opportunity. We think there is a lot that can be done in that space and the