Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 07 Hansard (Wednesday, 1 August 2018) . . Page.. 2533 ..
MS CHEYNE: How does engagement in international financial markets benefit the territory?
MR BARR: We are one of only a handful of sub-national governments around the world that hold a AAA credit rating. That is a very attractive proposition for international investors. Diversifying our bond program in terms of the split both between international and domestic investors and between bank balance sheets and other asset managers not only assists to drive down the cost of borrowing for the territory but also enables further engagement with international financial markets on investment opportunities for the ACT.
These particular approaches in the international bond market have been well received. I can advise that when the ACT went to market earlier this year, three of the significant international investors who participated in our bond offering were institutions that we had met with during our earlier bond roadshow.
This is important for the territory’s long-term infrastructure needs. We meet the bulk of our infrastructure program through asset sales and through our cash surplus but we also will borrow for significant long-term infrastructure for the territory, the same as all other Australian states and territories and, indeed, the Australian government. That is part of prudent infrastructure investment. Sourcing that capital at the lowest possible cost with the most diverse range of financiers is common sense.
MR PETTERSSON: Chief Minister, have there been any direct outcomes to local Canberra businesses or start-ups as a result of the mission?
MR BARR: Yes. I am very pleased to advise that a number of businesses have already received investment or are close to securing investment as a result of their participation in the trade mission.
We have significant interest in commercial property in the ACT across a range of asset classes and a range of different markets. The Canberra Business Chamber worked with six Canberra businesses to explore opportunities in Singapore. Participants have reported making important contacts and will continue to engage with investors and markets. An example is the local producer Majestic Mushrooms. Their story appeared in the media following their participation in the mission. They are now looking at stepping up their production to meet new market demand in South-East Asia.
Investors also responded favourably to presentations given by the eight Canberra start-up companies at the innovation network investor showcase. The innovation network at ANU Connect Ventures will be assisting these start-ups with follow-on connections.
I was also very pleased to hear that VSI Singapore, a technology manufacturing company, has reached broad agreement to invest $3 million in the new Significant Capital Ventures venture capital fund to invest in Canberra regional companies.