Page 1314 - Week 05 - Tuesday, 5 May 2015

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The network is also home to the Entry 29 co-working space and the Griffin accelerator. It is working in collaboration with the business community and, through a pilot small and medium enterprises growth program, is targeting small business growth and putting in place strategies to enhance competiveness and business improvement across the small business sector in the territory.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Ms Fitzharris.

MS FITZHARRIS: Chief Minister, how will Qantas’s decision to base 40 high-skilled jobs and make new investments in Canberra encourage wider growth in the territory?

MR BARR: I was very pleased last month to be able to announce, with QantasLink CEO John Gissing, that they will locate their heavy maintenance for the entire Boeing 717 fleet of 18 aircraft at Canberra Airport. This investment in new jobs and technical capabilities builds on the 260 Qantas Group employees who are already based in Canberra. It certainly will expand Qantas’s footprint here in the national capital and complement the increased usage of the 717 aircraft here in Canberra. The estimated value of this new arrangement for the ACT economy is around $5 million a year, and the agreement allows for the program to expand.

Attracting investment like this from a major national employer, Qantas, is a vote of confidence in the territory economy. It demonstrates the government’s commitment to growing our aviation sector, in partnership with the airlines and with Canberra Airport.

This, of course, includes attracting international flights to our city. This will support tourism, infrastructure development and our strengths in education. The technicians who are part of this maintenance contract bring new skills and technology to our city, which can, in partnership with our education institutions, grow education pathways and attract more jobs and aviation investment to Canberra.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Dr Bourke.

DR BOURKE: Chief Minister, how will IKEA’s employment requirements stimulate growth in the territory economy?

MR BARR: IKEA is another major international business investing in Canberra. Its presence in Canberra is great for jobs and it is great for our economy. It certainly is a vote of confidence in this city and in this region’s economic future. IKEA is already on site and the construction program is on track. It is well advanced in appointing and selecting a significant workforce. It is looking to employ around 250 people with a wide range of valuable skills.

IKEA has started this process and is currently training a large number of its Canberra staff at its other stores around Australia. These jobs will be across all areas of the business, including in the furniture showroom, sales, the restaurant, the play areas and the warehouse, as well as in special fields such as interior design, visual merchandising and management.

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