Page 3359 - Week 11 - Wednesday, 18 September 2013

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Business—export market

MS BERRY: My question is to the Minister for Economic Development. Can the Minister for Economic Development inform the Assembly what activities the ACT government has undertaken to promote exports and investments since the launch of the ACT business development strategy in 2012?

MR BARR: I thank Ms Berry for the question and for her ongoing interest in jobs in the ACT economy. The ACT government is taking a strong and proactive role in promoting exports, investment and jobs in our economy. It is worth noting why it is that exports and investment are so important to our economy. It is quite simply that for this economy and for a city of this size to grow, we must be outward looking. Relying on a market of 380,000 people is not enough in a modern, globalised world.

We must look to our region, the rest of Australia and the rest of the world for our ongoing prosperity, jobs in our community and ongoing economic growth. That is why the business development strategy that I launched last year contains numerous initiatives and programs to help local firms to begin, to boost their exporting efforts and to encourage firms and organisations from outside our city to invest in Canberra.

The good news is that the ACT business community is becoming more export focused. I am pleased to report to the Assembly that the value of goods and services exports from the ACT increased by 9.4 per cent in the 2011-12 fiscal year to $1.3 billion. This growth rate of 9.4 per cent was well above the national average of 6.3 per cent. I note that it was well above the national average during a mining boom. So it is an excellent effort from the ACT business community.

The ACT had the country’s highest year-on-year growth rate in 2011-12 and the five-year trend growth rate in ACT exports is 6.8 per cent. Through the business development strategy, the government is doing everything it can to ensure that this growth continues. The two key elements of this strategy are Global Connect and InvestACT. The government committed funding in last year’s budget for Global Connect, which consists of a range of programs to raise awareness among territory businesses about exporting opportunities, to promote collaboration amongst local exporters and to increase the number of local exporters to help them engage in new markets.

Global Connect provides a single interface for various trade development-related activities, including Trade Connect, which is a competitive grants program that provides funding to emerging exporters. Twenty-nine businesses received Trade Connect funding in the 2012-13 fiscal year. A trade mission program has been developed in the outyears providing opportunities for exporters in new markets.

The Centre for Exporting Government Solutions program was launched in March this year. The ACT Exporters Network, which is a collaborative group of ACT region exporters who provide leadership and share practical exporting advice, has been supported. The Chief Minister hosts annual export awards, which will be presented next week. And we have the ACT international student ambassador program.

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