Page 2446 - Week 08 - Thursday, 6 August 2015

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MS FITZHARRIS: My question is to the Minister for Economic Development. Minister, could you update the Assembly on what practical steps the government is taking to accelerate innovation and create wealth and jobs?

MR BARR: I thank Ms Fitzharris for the question and for her ongoing interest in the support of wealth creation and job creation in this city. There is no doubt that a strong and growing economy is essential for this community. It is essential to meet the needs of Canberrans now and into the future. Our economy continues to grow and we continue to create jobs and wealth by accelerating our city’s innovation sector and building on our city’s strengths in higher education and particularly in service exports.

Our government, through the renewed business development strategy, is continuing to put in place the policies that create the right business environment and use our city’s competitive strengths to accelerate innovation but, most importantly, to create jobs in Canberra.

One of our three strategic priorities outlined in the business development strategy is the acceleration of innovation. As part of this, we are providing additional funding to the CRB Innovation Network to support the growth of high-growth businesses, including the establishment of a new business incubator program known as the KILN incubator. The KILN program is a business program that aims to support budding Canberra entrepreneurs through a range of services, including coaching, mentoring, business advise and access to office space.

Today marks the opening of the 2015 competitive funding round for the CBR innovation development fund. The fund has been designed to support a range of initiatives aimed at developing capability and investment across the territory’s innovation ecosystem. The fund offers $700,000 for initiatives that build capacity and capability in the innovation ecosystem, demonstrate sustainable economic growth and, most importantly, promote local job development.

In 2016-17, the funding round will be increased to $1.45 million. It is a working example of the government’s commitment to the diversification of the territory economy by creating the right business environment, by accelerating innovation to create wealth and jobs and, importantly, by supporting investment in future growth areas.

Our city’s higher education and research sector contributes $2.7 billion annually to Canberra’s economy and creates 16,000 full-time equivalent jobs for the Canberra community. That is why our government has funded a number of innovation programs such as the innovation connect grants that will be delivered in conjunction with the Australian National University and the University of Canberra’s discovery translation fund.

Canberra’s higher education sector has made a strong commitment to the CBR Innovation Network and recognises that a dynamic innovation ecosystem will assist

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