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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 1 Hansard (8 December) . . Page.. 4002 ..

MS CARNELL (continuing):

establishing a new state-of-the-art call centre in Tuggeranong early in the new year. I think that is great news. In the first stage of this, 50 new jobs will be available, plus 120 positions will be transferred from Deakin to the town centre. That is really great news for Tuggeranong.

Mr Speaker, it is worth noting that under this Government we have increased employment in Tuggeranong quite significantly with projects such as this call centre, the Bunnings retail centre, plus the expansion of the Hyperdome and related facilities. We have a motel there now - in fact, two motels.

Mr Hargreaves: How many motels?

MS CARNELL: A motel, plus a number of clubs, all significant employers. But you never see Mr Hargreaves or Mr Wood out there talking about the real benefits of that economic development.

There is no doubt that our efforts to encourage more jobs have paid off. Since coming to government in 1995 we have seen more than 11,500 new jobs created, despite the loss of thousands of Commonwealth positions and a substantial reduction in the size of the ACT's own Public Service. But we have more jobs - not just a few but 11,500.

We felt that we needed to establish closer links between the sectors involved in Canberra's growth areas, one of those being information technology, as the next step of our industry strategy. That industry strategy is the basis upon which we work. Links between business, research centres, our universities and the ACT Government are essential for the growth of this city. We have created those links by creating the new Information Industry Advisory Board, which is chaired by the managing director of Tower Software, Mr Brand Hoff. We are really pleased about that. Who else is on it? We have the managing director of one of the largest information technology companies in Australia, CSC. As well as that, we have representatives from ANU, the University of Canberra, CIT and the business sector, including Telstra.

On top of this, we have also released a draft information industry direction statement under the heading "ACTSMART". This is a guide to us to encourage the growth and expansion of these areas in the Canberra region. There are four key actions that this Government believes are important: First, ensuring recognition of Canberra as a clever city and a city of the future; second, encouraging a strong, innovative and dynamic information technology and communication industry that is export orientated and recognised for its research and development capacity; third, providing world-class infrastructure to support the development and growth of this sector, with an education and training sector that is internationally recognised for its IT&T courses; and, finally, having a government that is committed to providing the best possible services electronically to our constituents. That is the basis of ACT government services being on line by 2001.

Mr Quinlan, over the last few months, has been talking about the need for the ACT to become a knowledge-based economy. We agree with that, but we do not see those opposite supporting our initiatives in this area. Why? Because they are always negative, no matter what, and it is totally unacceptable.

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