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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 2 Hansard (21 February) . . Page.. 493 ..

MRS CROSS (continuing):

Mr Speaker, the board was made up of an immensely talented group of people who represented some of the most successful information technology and communication companies, peak industry bodies and tertiary institutions. These bodies gave freely of their time, experience and corporate knowledge, receiving nothing in return other than the knowledge that they were making the ACT a better place in which to live and creating future employment opportunities for our children.

Some of the board's achievements include establishing the Women in Information and Communication Group that has encouraged and supported women to pursue careers in the information technology and communication industry. They played an instrumental role in coordinating and encouraging local firms to bid for federal contracts and funding programs. This included the successful $8 million bid for funding under the national building IT strengths program.

There are numerous other achievements that I could mention, such as the development of the ACT's photonic industry through gaining it recognition as a centre of excellence and playing an integral role in attracting the Australian Photonics Institute to locate in Canberra. Other achievements include their role in establishing the cooperative research centre for smart Internet technologies in Canberra, and their assistance in placing young adults in IT companies through the IT cadetship program. I could talk further about their support of the TransACT network and the considerable advice they provided to the former Liberal government on digital divide issues.

Mr Speaker, I could go on and on, but by any measure the board was timely, appropriate and a great success, and I call on members to afford it that recognition. While members are contemplating that decision, I would also ask them to ask themselves why one of the first actions of the current government was to disband the board. The decision absolutely beggars all sense, Mr Speaker. Having worked in the ICT sector in China and Australia since the 1980s, I appreciated the value of members of the IIDB in the ACT and the vision of the former Liberal government to establish the ACT as the ICT capital of Australia. I now fear that the good work done by the former Liberal government will disappear for good to the detriment of our community, our children and our future.

MR QUINLAN (Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Business and Tourism, Minister for Sport, Racing and Gaming and Minister for Police, Emergency Services and Corrections) (3.54): The government is quite happy to endorse this motion. We do not necessarily endorse the back half of Mrs Cross' speech, but I guess if we are here to play politics, so be it.

Let me say that the government does recognise the value of contributions made by the IIDB over the past couple of years. In fact, it has conveyed this to the chair, Mr Brand Hoff, and to many of the members of that committee whom I have met since we came to government. Let me assure Mrs Cross that our intention is to progress in the IT field within the ACT. We will do that within the structures that we promised to put in place before the election. You might see many familiar faces assisting this government as they assisted the last government. In fact, I guess they were not assisting the last government and I guess they will not be assisting us-they will be assisting the territory. It is our intent that this should happen.

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