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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 12 Hansard (Tuesday, 23 November 2021) . . Page.. 3545 ..

MS CHEYNE (Ginninderra—Assistant Minister for Economic Development, Minister for the Arts, Minister for Business and Better Regulation, Minister for Human Rights and Minister for Multicultural Affairs) (5.23): I am proud to speak in support of this budget and this output class. This budget empowers our community to build back stronger from the pandemic and empowers businesses to capitalise on opportunities that the recovery presents.

This budget delivers a lot of initiatives for businesses, not least of is the almost $300 million of business support grants. Mr Cain delivered a remarkable speech, accusing us of not being ambitious in job creation. I do wonder exactly what he has been doing in the last two months. To bring him up to speed, initiatives to support local business innovation and development include: $3.2 million to reinvigorate international trade and engagement with key markets aligned with our international engagement strategy; $1 million to continue the ICON grants program delivered by the Canberra Innovation Network, which helps entrepreneurs develop and grow their innovative ideas; $920,000 over four years to deliver both an accelerator program and a full concierge service to better support the development of local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses; and $504,000 over two years to attract new businesses and investment into Canberra and to further grow our economy.

The ACT government will also continue to create job opportunities through the Future Jobs fund, which Mr Cain said was shelved, including $500,000 for the continued development of the Canberra Cyber Hub. That was something Mr Cain implored us to do more of—well, we are. A further $450,000 went towards the Academy of Interactive Entertainment’s sound stage development; $200,000 for key industry advocacy; and $150,000 for significant capital ventures to help drive innovation in Canberra and build investment links between business and research.

There is more, but I would like to highlight two initiatives in particular which will help local businesses to grow our economy as we work towards 250,000 secure local jobs by 2025. This budget empowers the ACT’s First Nations entrepreneurs through the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander business support package, providing nearly $1 million over four years for an accelerator program and a business concierge service, an accelerator program to help businesses to scale up and a concierge service to support businesses to access the wide range of business assistance programs available to them.

Secondly, this budget is empowering businesses to trade across borders more easily and to attract skilled workers to Canberra through funding for the implementation of automatic mutual recognition, also known as AMR. AMR will remove red tape, fees and cross-jurisdictional barriers around occupational registrations and licensing. This funding will allow Access Canberra to proactively engage to ensure that businesses, particularly in the ACT and surrounding regions, benefit from the opportunities arising from its implementation. This budget will also enhance Access Canberra’s capacity to support improved building quality outcomes, by funding an additional seven and a half full-time equivalent specialist inspectors with skills in electrical, plumbing, engineering and building surveying.

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