Page 3568 - Week 11 - Thursday, 22 September 2005

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Canberra’s ICT industry possesses a number of strengths, including a skilled work force and close linkages with leading edge customers. NICTA is a unique opportunity for the development of a local ICT sector and Canberra’s credentials in the global ICT industry. NICTA will provide Canberra’s ICT industry with access to world-class skills and knowledge and will encourage our local sector to increase its global competitiveness. It will generate new start companies that are effectively born global in their product sets and outlook. I remind members that this government is also involved in setting up a $30 million venture capital fund with the support of the MTAA that dovetails with this process and makes for very bright prospects for the spinouts of the research that occurs, particularly in the ANU, but not exclusively to the ANU.

As has been demonstrated in the answers I have already given, NICTA will spread its wings across the ICT industry in the ACT. I am sure that it will make a fantastic contribution in the future to the growth of the ACT and, as I said earlier, to the repute of Canberra amongst the world’s centres of research and development.

Corrective services—prison project

MR GENTLEMAN: My question is to the Attorney-General. Can you bring members up to date on progress with the planning and building of the Alexander Maconochie Centre, the territory’s new corrections facility?

MR STANHOPE: I thank the member for the question, an important question, in relation to a most important facility for the ACT, the Alexander Maconochie Centre. The latest of the significant steps in the progress towards the construction of the Alexander Maconochie Centre has just been announced in the decision to award a $2.5 million site works contract to a local Canberra company, Canberra Contractors. I am very pleased that we have now reached that particular stage.

The preliminary site works would allow us, once the final tender for the construction is presented and concluded, to commence the construction of the Alexander Maconochie Centre in full. The works constituted by the latest contract, the Canberra Contractors contract, will see work on an intersection on the Monaro Highway that would lead into the site, the realignment of a sewerage line, the connection of water and, as I say, preliminary site works of that particular order. The project office for the Alexander Maconochie Centre is also working closely with ActewAGL, and ActewAGL at this stage expect to have power to the site by November, in the next two months.

The Alexander Maconochie Centre project office, together with its consultants, have now completed the preliminary sketch plans for the Alexander Maconochie Centre. They are now moving to the final sketch plan phase. ACTPLA have recently advised that it is satisfied with the design work that has been undertaken to date. A development approval for the main works associated with the project will be sought, hopefully within the next four weeks.

Tenders have also been called for the provision of vocational education and training services to prisoners in the new prison when it is established. Those tenders for vocational education and training are currently under evaluation. There is significant

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