Page 2790 - Week 09 - Wednesday, 17 August 2005

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government and the home of its pre-eminent national institutions—but also as a place that represents the best in Australian creativity, community living and sustainable development.

As the government’s framework for the ongoing development of this city, the Canberra plan sets the strategic direction for the government and the community, and has been shaped and given direction by Canberrans themselves. Underpinned by the concept of sustainability, it is an integrated strategy to strengthen Canberra’s economy and its capacity to deliver services for Canberrans, while managing urban growth and change. While many important milestones have already been achieved, the positive effects of the Canberra plan will carry on well beyond this term of government and, indeed, this budget cycle.

Significant progress has already been made in implementing the plan since its release in March 2003. Some of the key themes within the Canberra plan refer to the need to harness the region’s many assets and become more strategic in the way we work together. The three key themes relating to the territory’s economic development are investing in Canberra’s knowledge future, forging partnerships for growth and developing a dynamic heart. These areas have been significantly progressed over the past year. During 2004-05 solid partnerships were forged and new markets opened up in support of a more dynamic and innovative economy.

Many of the objects in the Canberra plan regarding the improvement of Canberra’s economy have been advanced, and I highlight the following initiatives to the Assembly:

a department of economic development was established to improve delivery of key services and programs to the business community and develop strategies relating to major businesses and economic issues facing the territory over the coming years;

the Canberra partnership board has brought together business, researchers and government to identify opportunities for growth and export;

a $30 million super venture capital partnership was initiated to take great local ideas and turn them into commercial realities and jobs;

the Canberra-California bridge program has opened the door to global markets and global finance;

screenACTion, the ACT’s office of film, media and digital contact, opened for business; and

a one-stop business shopfront was established on Northbourne Avenue and is now home to BusinessACT, the Canberra Business Advisory Service, Austrade, screenACTion, and the brand new Small Business Commissioner.

The government also invested $10 million in a new school of health science at the University of Canberra, and supported a new construction industry training centre, turning ideas and knowledge into assets for the territory, and building upon its strength as a well-educated community.

The 2005-06 budget continues to meet the needs of our community and deliver on the commitments to innovative and sustainable economic development contained within the Canberra plan. This year’s budget clearly took a balanced view of economic growth in the territory, providing $232,000, increasing to $392,000 by 2008-09, to support a range

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