Page 2860 - Week 10 - Tuesday, 13 August 2013

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We are giving SMEs the best possible chance to secure a share of the ACT government’s considerable spending in this area. Feedback from SMEs in roundtable discussions earlier this month was exceedingly positive, Madam Speaker. They are delighted with the clear and specific action taken by the government to recognise and support local businesses. The government’s business development strategy issued last year recognised that SMEs can find it challenging to tender for and win government business.

However, this policy specifically addresses this and makes it easier for local businesses to tender for contracts from the ACT government. It is another good reason for SMEs to be developing and investing in the capital region. This policy will support the regional economy. Each additional dollar that circulates within our economy boosts local economic activity and employment.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Smyth.

MR SMYTH: Minister, will the new policy ensure that the government will proceed with tenders when a preferred tender is announced or will you continue to dud businesses at great cost to those businesses, as per the aborted hospital tender documents?

MR BARR: The government’s policies in relation to procurement outside this change that I have announced are unchanged.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Gentleman.

MR GENTLEMAN: Minister, what other policies is the ACT government implementing to support local businesses?

MR BARR: The new criterion that we have announced is one of the initiatives within the government’s business development strategy that I issued in April of last year. The strategy contains a wide range of initiatives to support local business, including the creation of InvestACT that promotes the benefits of doing business in Canberra for overseas firms and investors. That was launched in Singapore earlier this year.

There is the expansion of global connect, which consists of a range of programs to raise awareness about exporting from the ACT, to promote collaboration amongst local exporters, to increase the number of local exporters and to help them engage in new markets. This sector of the territory economy has been performing extremely well. Some of the fastest growing parts of the territory economy are our exporters, and they are to be commended for their efforts.

The expansion of the innovation connect program, which contains a range of initiatives to support early-stage business innovation and assists entrepreneurs to commercialise and create value from their innovations, is another key element of the business development strategy.

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