Page 2720 - Week 09 - Wednesday, 12 August 2015

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As an early indication of the government's renewed commitment to the support of the higher education sector, this place has, of course, dealt with a range of reforms to assist the University of Canberra to grow, and we have also made a decision to support fee exemptions for the dependants of international higher degree research students who come to Canberra to study at one of our universities to allow their kids to study in ACT public schools.

We are also committing to accelerating innovation through our Innovation Network. I have spoken in this place at length about the range of new initiatives there, including the Griffin Accelerator and the KILN incubator.

The third aspect of the strategy is to support business investment in future growth areas. That will further boost our activities aimed at increasing trade and investment with key partners, particularly working with the Canberra Business Chamber.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Dr Bourke.

DR BOURKE: Chief Minister, how will the renewed business development strategy provide local companies with opportunities to deliver innovative products and services to the ACT government?

MR BARR: Thank you, Dr Bourke. The small business innovation partnership program will use government procurement to uncover local innovation by allowing local businesses to directly engage with the territory government to develop new products that meet identified outside of normal procurement processes. This approach will produce benefits for government procurement, and as a result innovative companies will be able to develop more opportunities to subsequently sell these products and services to other governments and clients.

A co-design workshop was recently held between government and industry representatives to collaborate on the development of a program that will maximise benefits for industry. I am pleased to report to the Assembly that there is a great deal of excitement and energy about this program and the possibilities that it will create for local entrepreneurs.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Ms Porter.

MS PORTER: Madam Speaker, my question is again to the Chief Minister. How will this strategy ensure that the ACT government procurement decisions take into account the capability of local industry?

MR BARR: The appointment of the Local Industry Advocate will ensure that the ACT government’s procurement decisions take into account the capability of local industry. The advocate will be there to ensure a level playing field to allow and facilitate fair and reasonable access to participation in government procurement as well as brokering links between local businesses and larger entities to optimise benefits for local industry. The local industry participation policy will be released,

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