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Wednesday, 25 February 1987
Page: 651

(Question No. 1540)

Senator Jones asked the Minister representing the Minister for Sport, Recreation and Tourism, upon notice, on 20 November 1986:

(1) What is the anticipated cost to the Australian taxpayer of staging `Expo 1988' to be staged in Brisbane in that year.

(2) What are the anticipated benefits to Australia and in particular to its balance of trade through export potential from this exhibition.

(3) Is the Minister for Trade aware the organisers of `Expo 1988' have decided to impose a charge of $25 for adults and $15 for pensioners and children, $40 for a three day ticket and a spiralling fee which will climb up by $15 every three months between now and 1988 for season tickets, coupled with a further decision not to issue family tickets at concession rates.

(4) In view of the fact that these extremely high prices will rule out attendance at the `Expo' for a substantial number of people, what potential damage does the decision to charge so much have to prejudice the success of this venture and therefore do more harm than good to the Australian economy.

Senator Ryan —The Minister for Sport, Recreation and Tourism has provided the following answers to the honourable senator's question:

(1) Most of the costs of staging Expo 88 in Brisbane will be met through the Brisbane and South Bank Redevelopment Authority, BESBRA, which is the agency established by the Queensland Parliament to operate Expo 88. The Commonwealth Government is committed to meeting the following costs associated with the staging of Expo 88:

the operation of the Office of the Commissioner-General of Expo 88. Expenditure by the Office of the Commissioner-General of Expo 88 to date has been $28,848 in 1983-84, $225,429 in 1984-85 and $217,385 in 1985-86

the planning, construction and operation of the Australian pavilion. Expenditure to date which is to be applied towards the construction of the Australian pavilion is $3m in 1984-85 (held in trust by the Brisbane and South Bank Redevelopment Authority) and $1,617 in 1985-86. A sum of up to $18 million will cover various planning, construction and operation costs of the pavilion

the provision of customs, immigration, security and other services needs generated by Expo 88, yet to be estimated

the provision with BESBRA of assistance to enable developing countries to participate in Expo 88 such as, for example, China, South Pacific and ASEAN countries. The Commonwealth has agreed to contribute up to $1.28m in 1987-88 for this purpose (with these funds coming from the interest accrued on the Commonwealth funds held in trust by BESBRA).

(2) Benefits to Australia from the staging of Expo 88 are expected in a number of areas such as, for example, increased international and domestic tourism, increased awareness overseas of Australia and consequently increased opportunities for the development of trading and investment opportunities and, within Australia, employment generation in both the developmental and operational stages of Expo 88.

(3) Yes.

(4) The matter of prices for entry to Expo 88 is essentially one for BESBRA. The effect on attendance and the success of the venture through the price of tickets is also a matter primarily of concern to the Authority.