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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 7 Hansard (5 June) . . Page.. 1927 ..

MR QUINLAN (continuing):

I can announce a huge boost to the ACT's regional information and communication technology industry. A large slice of the centre of excellence has been awarded to the consortium in which this government participated.

The partnership includes the ACT government, of course, the Australian National University, the University of New South Wales, the University of Sydney and the New South Wales government, our comrades. There are also a number of supporting partners, including over 100 small to medium enterprises. When established, the centre will bring excellence in research, education, commercialisation and industry interaction to Canberra and the region. It is estimated that it will manage $1.1 billion in a 10-year plan to create an Australian technology centre to rival international centres.

The centre's management structure will ensure that it is independent of any of the other core partners. This means that this vital national asset will not be captured by any one organisation. The centre will serve to accelerate the development of Canberra's ICT industry by providing a boost to our intellectual capital, and increasing the industry's supply of world-class skills through its enhanced education program.

MS MacDONALD: Can the minister inform the house of the benefits that will flow to the territory as a result of the ACT's successful bid?

MR QUINLAN: Thank you, I can. As well as requiring a large-scale centre of excellence to be built in Canberra, and a considerable increase in Commonwealth government R and D expenditure-approximately $40 million here in Canberra-it will attract something in the order of 100 researchers and 160 postgraduate students when it is fully operational in five years time. There will therefore be opportunities for students to stay in Canberra and to pursue excellence in education and research.

This centre of excellence will also be a beacon to attract international research and development, and development corporations. Spin-off companies and commercialisation opportunities will be attracted, and there will be opportunities for partnerships in R and D. Let me say that, the day that this centre of excellence was awarded, I was directly contacted by two international corporations expressing immediate interest in being associated with the centre of excellence. I confidently predict that this centre of excellence will be the nucleus of a growing business cluster which is-

Mr Smyth: Because it is already here.

Mrs Cross: It is all right. We will let you bask in the glory.

MR QUINLAN: I think I have said before, Mr Speaker, that every developed Western region in the world these days thinks that it is going to be the centre of a knowledge-based industry. You have to run hard to keep up. This is a demonstration of running even harder, and this, in fact, stamps Canberra as having the potential to become the leading research centre in Australia and to rank on the world stage. I do believe, as I was saying before I was rudely interrupted, that this centre of excellence will be the nucleus of a business cluster that will grow. It will grow provided that we, both the ACT government and ACT industry, keep our shoulders to the wheel, and we intend to do that.

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