Page 4001 - Week 13 - Wednesday, 30 October 2013

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MR BARR: I thank Ms Berry for the question. Fostering trade and innovation is vital to the territory’s future growth and to job creation within the ACT. As I have alluded to previously, the ACT business community is becoming more export focused. It is pleasing to see that the value of goods and services exported from the ACT increased by nearly 9½ per cent in the 2011-12 financial year, to $1.3 billion. This rate of growth, at 9.4 per cent, was above the national rate of growth of 6.3 per cent. In fact, it reflected territory’s position as recording the highest year-on-year growth rate in 2011-12. The five-year trend growth rate of exports from the territory is at 6.8 per cent.

We have a growing number of innovators, evidenced by the strong number of start-ups, particularly in high-tech sectors.

To ensure this growth continues, it is important that our business continues to receive support from government and there are the right policy settings to continue to grow and create jobs. The government is taking a market-based approach to supporting export growth. We are rejecting the development of old-fashioned industry plans and “cargo cult” approaches of throwing money at businesses in the hope that they will set up shop in Canberra.

Mr Coe: Kim Carr would be shattered.

MR BARR: Kim Carr; Kate Carnell. I do not care who was previously engaged in such policy approaches. We all remember Impulse Airlines and the 10 million bucks that was thrown at them. A very successful investment that was for the territory—very successful! They are a great airline, Impulse, doing a lot of operations—a lot of flights into and out of Canberra over the last decade from Impulse. That is one example—but one example—of that cargo cult approach.

The government is adopting an alternate view, one of committing significant, proactive and consistent support for exporters and innovators. Through the business development strategy, we have put in place a wide range of policies and programs to help businesses to export. Included amongst this is the establishment of InvestACT, which is a key driver for encouraging businesses to set up or expand their operations in Canberra, and help local businesses tap into the knowledge and capital of investors. The brand Canberra work will give exporters a clear identity with which to express the benefits of doing business in the ACT and will provide a new way for firms to talk about ourselves and showcase who we are, what we do and how we go about it.

We are bringing together all of the ACT government’s export activities through the global connect program. This program consists of a range of subprograms raising awareness amongst territory businesses about exporting, promoting collaboration amongst local exporters, increasing the number of local exporters and helping them to tap into new markets. The innovation connect program supports the early stages of business innovation and assists entrepreneurs to commercialise and create value from their innovations. The Lighthouse Business Innovation Centre provides services for investment-oriented young companies. CollabIT does an excellent job of promoting SMEs and innovative companies and establishing partnerships between government agencies, SMEs and multinationals. (Time expired.)

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