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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 2 Hansard (9 March) . . Page.. 545..

MR QUINLAN (continuing):

will be leading a delegation to Canberra for the focus on business convention later this year. This is great news for Canberra and is a direct result of the trade mission which I led to Ireland and the UK in October of last year, when I met with and lunched with, I have to confess, the minister.

Mr Mulcahy: Coat-tugging.

MR QUINLAN: I was going to say that. At the risk of being accused a coat-tugger, I just happened to be sitting between the Irish minister for commerce and industry and the Australian ambassador, Mr John Herron, with the finger crooked around a glass of semillon. The things you do-dining for your country, I suppose it is called.

It is a coup for Canberra and a coup for the focus on business convention that the minister for commerce and industry from the Celtic tiger will be attending the focus on business convention this year. The international relationships that we have built have virtually been part of a strategic approach rather than a hit-and-miss approach.

I will do a bit on name-dropping now. The number of people that we now have direct links with and who are possible attendees at the focus on business convention this year include: Tim Priest from the greater Washington initiative; Greg Horowitz from the University of Southern California, San Diego-global connect is the suborganisation he is part of; Rohit Shukla from LARTA, the Los Angeles research and technical alliance; Mr Geoffrey Dale from the Ottawa Centre for Research; and Mr Anthony Wong, who is the commissioner for innovation in Hong Kong. I met with him this year as well. Let me say that Mr Wong has something of the order of $US500 million to build up innovation in Hong Kong and is very receptive to dealing with the outside world, in fact, but is certainly receptive to dealing with businesses from the ACT.

What this amounts to is a genuine benefit in the investment we have made in building relationships that will, in the future, provide doorways, openings and avenues for ACT businesses. These relationships are not built without effort and are not built without going to these places with something to contribute, something to exchange-possibly your economic white paper or a strategy that you are working with, and businesses that support and are benefiting from it.

I am sure the opposition realises that you can get a bit of political mileage from time to time in this place out of talking about ministers off on overseas junkets. That has certain populist appeal. I suggest to the opposition, in my last question time here, that they might think twice about that and maybe tone that down a bit and realise that it is necessary to go and build those relationships.

Opposition members interjecting-

MR QUINLAN: Would you like to come to a function next week to be put on by the exporters network? For some reason, they are getting together. I will see whether I can wangle an invitation for the opposition to come along and see what the business sector and exporters in the ACT think of what the government has done since it came to power and how much of a difference has been made in that particular time.

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