Page 963 - Week 03 - Thursday, 10 April 2014

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delivered for Australians by 2016. They are already walking away from that. So it is just as well that the ACT government are investing in the digital capability of our city, because the federal government are walking away from a national broadband network. The Turnbull solution is not national; it is not broadband; and it is not a network.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Ms Berry.

MS BERRY: Can the minister advise the Assembly how the Griffin accelerator, launched by the Chief Minister at the ANU Connect Ventures innovation showcase, will help promote innovation in Canberra.

MR BARR: The Griffin accelerator is a major new addition to Canberra’s innovation ecosystem and, through the ANU, it is a driving force in delivering innovation. The accelerator is owned by investors, and 12 investors have contributed $25,000 to a trust to invest in selected businesses. Applicants will be judged on their ability to sell to the market and their growth potential, with an aim of providing a substantial return to investors.

The ACT government has provided $70,000 towards the first Griffin accelerator program to meet some of its delivery costs. This allows all of the funds committed by investors to be used as development equity. The program will be advertised nationwide. Selected companies will either be located in Canberra or required to relocate here.

The first half of the program runs from 1 July to 30 September this year and has a theme of servicing government, with up to eight companies to be selected. Companies will receive a $25,000 investment in return for a 10 per cent equity stake in the company. They will receive intensive mentoring and be assisted to attract further investment. In effect, the Griffin accelerator is a microcosm of the services and strategies that will be used by the innovation network.

It is a unique model. It brings together many key stakeholders in the ACT’s innovation ecosystem, and the 12 investors have each contributed $25,000 to a trust fund for investing in selected businesses. The major research institutions—the ANU, the CSIRO, NICTA and the University of Canberra—have all participated in the establishment of the accelerator. The Capital Angels group and Australian Venture Capital Ltd have also been core players.

Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission—water pricing

MR SMYTH: My question is to the Treasurer. Treasurer, the Auditor-General in her recent report noted that the water and sewerage pricing process has been characterised by “poor communication and a poor relationship between the ICRC and ACTEW”. Treasurer, as the minister with oversight of the ICRC and as a shareholder of ACTEW, when were you made aware of the poor relationship between the two organisations?

MR BARR: I think it is taking a little bit of licence to describe it as a poor relationship. I think that is contested by the ICRC and ACTEW. Yes, they had their differences during the regulatory process. To a certain extent you would want a

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