Page 2791 - Week 09 - Wednesday, 17 August 2005

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of development activities across key industry sectors identified in the government’s economic white paper.

In capitalising on the territory’s research and innovation strengths, the government has extended outyear funding for the knowledge fund by a further $3 million in 2008-09. This will make total funding of $21.5 million since the government came into office. The fund assists institutions and innovation based firms to commercialise their ideas and develop new partnering approaches, and has already supported over 200 new knowledge economy jobs in the ACT. In 2005-06 further alliances will be formed through a range of cluster development activities, including enterprise capability, development and critical mass building of firms across the nine priority industry sectors identified in the economic white paper.

An amount of $232,000 has been allocated to the priority industry sector support program, which encourages government, community, business leaders and academia to work together to build competitive strength and achieve sustainable growth and development in the ACT. The National Information and Communication Technology Australia Centre of Excellence, NICTA, is renowned as the premier information and communications technology research institute in Australia. The centre was recently welcomed to its new home in the Canberra City West precinct, as part of the revitalisation of the area as a smart zone. The centre will provide 100 new NICTA positions and 100 PhD student places, as well as an estimated 280 new jobs during the construction phase, increasing employment in this new economy industry.

The government recognises that there is an increasing skills shortage in the ACT. To remedy this, we are cultivating stronger links between schools and industry, allocating $1.5 million to vocational education and training in 2005-06. This will lead to an increase in the number of traineeship and apprenticeship places in the territory. Canberra’s tourism also stands to benefit from stronger partnerships and innovative ideas. The government remains committed to Australian Capital Tourism and will continue to support programs to strengthen tourism in the capital, as well as developing new attractions and enhancing existing ones.

The Canberra plan has already resulted in significant economic investments, with both short and long term benefits for the Canberra community. By fostering greater economic opportunity and increasing support for commercial, educational and research activities, Canberra is fast becoming the heart of the region—a city renowned for its dynamic, innovative and growth oriented economy.

MR STANHOPE (Ginninderra—Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for the Environment and Minister for Arts, Heritage and Indigenous Affairs) (10.48): I thank Mr Gentleman for moving this particular motion, a motion that notes the government’s commitment to the future of Canberra through the introduction of the Canberra plan and the progress with that plan. It is an important plan and a very important motion.

Much of what the government does and much of our policy direction is determined by the Canberra plan. The government did this major piece of strategic work through the term of the last Assembly, not at times without significant criticism—that we were taking the time to be strategic planning our future. We were prepared to bring together, for the first time, a major strategic plan, through the economic white paper, covering the

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