Page 118 - Week 01 - Tuesday, 25 February 2014

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I mention CEA Technologies, with David Gaul and Ian Croser. I think we all know their facility on Gladstone Street in Fyshwick. Again, it is a Canberra firm that is making world-leading technology to help particularly the Royal Australian Navy—but I guess to help all navies that are interested in it—to be much safer at sea.

Then there is the achievement of the NICTA Canberra laboratory. I am quite happy to be part of the cabinet that gave the go-ahead for NICTA that started it here in the ACT. We granted them some land. There was the work of Phil Robertson and his team to make sure that we are taking what we have got, which is smart people, and turning it into a business for the ACT.

And who can forget the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation with their work on agriculture, particularly the Barleymax story. Barleymax is a natural wholegrain with nutritional benefits that helps reduce heart disease, cancers and diabetes. It is being done here in the ACT. These are the opportunities that would exist if we had the courage to diversify our business sector and we had a government that was interested in actually doing it.

I have just had a quick look through. Another one to particularly look at is John De Margheriti and the Academy of Interactive Entertainment here in the ACT. They are world leaders in multiplayer gaming systems. When people said that you could not do it, John De Margheriti did. Now we train some of the world’s best gaming programmers here in the ACT; they are snapped up by people all around Australia and all around the world. It is an export industry for the ACT.

Mr Dawson’s book illustrates quite clearly what can be achieved when science and invention, and government and business, open doors for each other and when communities work together. It highlights how Canberra, often discounted as a boring government town, can produce a pipeline of amazing businesses predicated on entrepreneurship and innovation. This book is instructive to policymakers on what works and what does not work in our cities. I urge all people in this place to get hold of a copy and have a read. (Time expired.)

Asylum seekers

MS BERRY (Ginninderra) (5.48): On Saturday night I attended a vigil for Reza Barati, a 23-year-old man killed in an outbreak of violence at the Manus Island detention camp. Standing there amongst hundreds of other Canberrans who had come to acknowledge the tragic death of a young man they had never met and the numerous people our country had failed to protect, it was clear that the protection of people seeking asylum is an issue of great importance to many people in our city.

I was saddened over the past week to see one of my federal parliamentary colleagues ask the federal government for nothing but “competence” in the physical protection of people who seek safety on our shores. I am happy to say that as a member of the ACT Legislative Assembly I am not required to use the wretched line “Manus is a fundamental part of the refugee resettlement agreement”. As a member of ACT Labor I am supported by hundreds of local Labor members who last year at our territory conference made it clear that physical safety is not all that is owed to people seeking asylum.

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