Page 4317 - Week 12 - Wednesday, 25 October 2017

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MR STEEL: My question is to the Chief Minister: what was today’s exciting announcement by Lonely Planet regarding Canberra?

MR BARR: I thank Mr Steel for the question. In case—

Mr Wall: So if the murder rate goes up we go to number one?

MR BARR: Well, there we go. At the first opportunity to talk our city up, where do the miserable lot who sit opposite go? They go on a Detroit bashing exercise.

Opposition members interjecting

MADAM SPEAKER: Stop the clock, please. Members, that is better. Chief Minister.

MR BARR: This is very exciting news for Canberra’s tourism industry that we have received the highest award ever for an Australian city in the Lonely Planet top 10 cities in the world to visit for 2018. This will be a great launching pad for the next phase in Canberra’s tourism development. The tourism industry is heading towards a $2.5 billion annual contribution to the territory’s economy, employing more than 16,000 Canberrans. To put that in perspective, the commonwealth public service is about 60,000 Canberrans; the ACT government employs around 20,000 Canberrans; and the tourism industry employs 16,000, and that is only going to grow.

This recognition is as a result of a decade of transformative work. Canberra has fundamentally changed from the small, insular country town that it was in the 1960s and 70s, and there is no way that the Canberra of that era would have received this sort of international recognition. Canberra has changed for the better. We are the happiest, healthiest, longest-living, best educated and wealthiest Australians. This city is the best place in the world to live, and it has been recognised now as one of the best places in the world to visit. The only people to date who are negative are the Canberra Liberals. (Time expired.)

MR STEEL: Chief Minister, what does this announcement mean for Canberra?

MR BARR: It means our city is getting the recognition that it deserves. It has been incredibly encouraging across the dozens of media interviews that have been undertaken today by me and various spokespeople for Visit Canberra—the very positive reaction across the nation and internationally to this recognition.

Opposition members interjecting

MR BARR: Yes, there are cynics and critics. Some of them reside in this city and sit on the other side of the chamber. Some people who purport to represent this city have been utilising the last few minutes to talk this city down. That is very disappointing. But, as we have observed before, there is nothing more miserable than the Canberra Liberals. We will be relentlessly positive about this city, its transformation, its tourism

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