Page 589 - Week 02 - Thursday, 17 February 2005

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Assembly about the details of this visit, those participating, the cost to the ACT taxpayer, and the anticipated benefits to flow to the Canberra community from this visit?

MR QUINLAN: Given the level of detail that would be necessary in that answer, I am very happy to take it on notice. Mr Mulcahy can rest assured that I will be back in this place to tell him all about it.

MR MULCAHY: Mr Speaker, I have a supplementary question. As this visit appears to coincide with the major golf and tennis events in Dubai—namely the Dubai Desert Classic and the Dubai Tennis Championships—has the Treasurer contemplated rescheduling this visit to ensure that appropriate officials and business leaders in Dubai will be available for meetings during his visit?

MR QUINLAN: Thanks for that information Mr Mulcahy. Let me assure you that I will look into that.

Springboard program

MS PORTER: My question is directed to the Minister for Economic Development. Last week the minister launched the business springboard program. Minister, can you explain the concept behind the program? What has been the reaction of the ACT business community to the launch of the springboard program?

MR QUINLAN: Last week I launched the business springboard program. I advise the house of how that concept fits within our vision—the vision that you have seen in our economic white paper—that started in the pursuit of an innovative knowledge-based economy, the setting up of a knowledge fund, a knowledge bank, so that we could invest in and assist R&D within the territory. Since then, the implementation of the vision has grown. We now have a commercialisation fund to ensure that there is a pool of venture capital so that good ideas can be built into good product.

Of course, we then need to take the further step: to take that good product and turn it into a good enterprise overall. In previous times I have advised this Assembly of the Canberra-California bridge program, which some of our businesses have gone through so that they can go through the process of preparation for descending upon or attacking a market that is world class—a process that has been implemented in many places, particularly on the West Coast of the United States. We now have close relationships with major business promotion organisations, particularly in San Francisco and San Diego.

A number of our businesses have been through this style of program. Part of that program is to call upon the experience of other businesses that have developed, and have been down the road and done the hard yards in terms of establishment: raising venture capital, promoting a product and building partnerships if their product happens to lend itself to becoming a component of a bigger system of process.

Under that umbrella and within that process, during the Canberra end of the Canberra-California bridge program, we found that the exchange of experience—export experience, marketing experience and distribution experience—was of great assistance to embryonic companies. It seemed to us to be commonsense to build that process and to do

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