Page 715 - Week 03 - Tuesday, 20 March 2018

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As the responsible minister, why did you not ensure that your directorate achieved an open and transparent sale process for block 30 section 34?

MR BARR: The cabinet’s intent was very clear, and it is outlined in the Auditor-General’s report. I would remind Mrs Jones of the Government Procurement Act, and the government procurement regulations and guidelines, which make a very clear distinction between the role of ministers and the role of delegates and tender evaluation panels. I would hope that most members would agree that it is preferable that ministers play no role in tender evaluation processes.

MRS JONES: Thank you, minister, for that patronising reply. Why did you fail to ensure that the land swap transaction was consistent with the RFT and the terms of sale process approved by government?

MR BARR: Again, I remind the member to read the government procurement legislation, regulation and guidelines. It is not my responsibility. I am not the delegate; I do not make the decision in this regard.

MR COE: Minister, when were you first aware of the government’s intention to purchase the CFMEU headquarters owned by the Tradies in Dickson?

MR BARR: I will take that date on notice.


MR STEEL: My question is to the Chief Minister. Chief Minister, can you please update the Assembly on the latest tourism statistics for the ACT?

MR BARR: I thank Mr Steel; yes, I can. Last week Tourism Research Australia released new data that showed that the ACT had experienced a 17 per cent increase in international visitors over the past 12 months. That extra number of visitors contributed a further $105.5 million to the ACT economy, on top of the spend in the previous year. The record international visitor increase took the numbers to nearly 243,000 for the year ending December 2017. Those 243,000 visitors spent a lot more: up 23.3 per cent to a new record level of just under $560 million. That 23.3 per cent increase was well above the national average. It is noteworthy that these increases, of nearly 17 per cent in visitors and 23.3 per cent in spend, contrast with a six per cent increase for both categories at the national level.

MR STEEL: Chief Minister, how is the ACT government supporting this growth?

MR BARR: We will continue to work with the tourism sector, particularly those in the transport sector, to make it cheaper and easier to get to Canberra. Members would be aware of the significant work that has been undertaken in partnership with Canberra airport. It is terrific that from May we will have two international airlines flying daily into Canberra, arguably two of the best airlines in the world. We will continue our focus on low-cost domestic aviation and on working with Virgin and Qantas on improving in particular capital city services.

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