Page 389 - Week 02 - Tuesday, 15 February 2005

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Secondly, the precinct will greatly advance the ability of the ANU to commercialise its ever-increasing intellectual property.

It is the story of university towns all over the globe that the stunning ideas generated by academic institutions do not often find their way into the realm of business or in the realm of business in their local area. Certainly in my experience in studying how other cities manage and encourage commercialisation of intellectual property, I have found that governments that are forward thinking enough to enter into arrangements such as we have are the ones that derive the substantial benefits of the brainpower such as that residing in this city.

In simple terms, we all know that the university, the ANU, is world renowned as the largest research university in the country and one of the best in the world. We all know that Canberra is a city of highly educated people—as recently as today confirmed as the best educated city in Australia. We all know as well that we have to do better to turn ideas that are regularly generated out of the ANU and other institutions into successful business ventures. This will, in time, be a shot in the arm for Canberra’s employment and export credentials and will further entrench our position on the world stage as a city that competes with the best—something we already know.

The agreement means that the ANU will have first call on unleased land in the precinct and, with the backing of the ANU’s partners, we will soon see the first scaffolding going up on what will be a very important part of Canberra’s future and growth. The partnership between the ANU and the ACT government has been sealed by the signing of a deed of agreement, and there is no doubt that the government has taken very large steps in securing Canberra’s economic future in exactly the sort of concept that we have described in our economic white paper.

This, again, is the government taking action on the plans that it has put in place. We have a vision for the city as an innovative economy, as a knowledge-based economy, as an economy that will be recognised around the globe as a centre of excellence. We have invested in it and we will continue to do so.

MR GENTLEMAN: I have a supplementary question. Can the minister advise the Assembly on how the government is supporting commercialisation in the territory.

MR QUINLAN: The government has, in recent times, taken a further significant step, with the agreement of the ANU, to establish that precinct and we are putting our money where our mouth is, as we have indicated we would in the economic white paper.

I can confirm for members that the government has committed $10 million to a commercialisation fund which is designed to provide accessible capital so that firms that have the good ideas can actually get the funds necessary to turn that idea into business, profit, export, employment and reputation. The important element of any provision of funds for this type of facility is the ability to leverage the initial amount of money into large amounts attracting other investors to the fund.

I am pleased to say, Mr Speaker, that the MTAA, the Motor Trades Association of Australia, has liked what we are doing so much that they have put in $20 million as well.

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