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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 01 Hansard (Tuesday, 10 February 2015) . . Page.. 19 ..

government is currently working hard to prepare our budget for June, linking the daily business of government to our strategy for economic development and the challenge of creating jobs and maintaining growth. We do this in a tough economic context. The Reserve Bank’s recent rate cut only illustrates the continuing weakness of the national economy while, to be frank, right now the less said or expected from the federal Liberal government the better. We rely heavily on our own best enterprise, Madam Speaker.

Fortunately, local enterprise is strong indeed. In the ACT we have businesses that win tenders nationally and internationally to provide construction, specialist goods, IT products and professional services. Our firms have proven to be world class. It is fantastic to see that the ACT Australian of the Year, Glenn Keys, was recognised for his entrepreneurship as well as his community work. I think his firm, Aspen Medical, a global healthcare provider headquartered in Canberra, is a real local champion and a real local inspiration to others.

My agenda is to clear out any roadblocks to local firms like these winning work from the ACT government. So today I am pleased to announce that we will be creating a new position of local industry advocate. As a first step, the advocate will work with local industry to identify improvements to government procurement processes. Our local businesses tell me they do not need protection and they do not need special advantages. They just need a fair go when they compete for government work.

I am particularly concerned to ensure that our rules and regulations are not designed around compliance capacity or the needs of big players in a way that distorts the procurement process against innovative local firms. The advocate will work exclusively in the interests of the ACT business community to ensure work that can and should be done by ACT businesses stays in the ACT.

Our vision for a growing Canberra economy is built on three strategic imperatives: fostering the right business environment, supporting business investment and accelerating business innovation. The business development strategy that we launched two years ago has been a genuine success, ranging from stimulating the construction sector during a period of major commonwealth sector contractions to the programs to assist former public servants to transition into the private sector. National surveys have rated our efforts for small and medium enterprises as nation leading.

Once established, I will task the local industry advocate to work with local industry to prepare an industry participation plan. This will renew our business development strategy as the economic situation changes and new opportunities and challenges emerge. In very testing economic times and with no friendly federal government to turn to, we have a big job ahead. Last December I thought we would face a coordinated and hostile force in the federal conservatives. Today I think it is more chaotic than hostile and that is possibly worse.

There are brilliant possibilities emerging for our city from the space and spatial industry precinct at Mount Stromlo to the Canberra science and innovation precinct at Black Mountain and the sporting commons and allied health precincts at the University of Canberra in Bruce. I am absolutely confident in our city. We are bigger

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