Page 3471 - Week 11 - Thursday, 24 September 2015

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growing a range of 21st century industries. In the “Confident and business ready: building on our strengths” business development strategy, we recognised that the uptake of digital technology was one of the key drivers of innovation and entrepreneurship, and that the economic development objectives of the digital Canberra action plan would form an important part of our approach to innovation and entrepreneurship.

One of the ACT government’s most important relationships to support digital transformation of our economy is with NICTA. NICTA is making a strong contribution to Canberra’s innovation ecosystem by generating start-ups, by managing the e-government cluster and as a foundation member of the CBRA Innovation Network. NICTA is working closely with the Australian government’s Digital Transformation Office on several national projects, and the ACT’s Chief Digital Officer is in discussion with the DTO and NICTA on ways in which the ACT government can be a test bed for DTO applications. Already this is raising Canberra’s profile and credentials among multinational businesses to place more strategic research in our city. This opens opportunities for smart Canberra IT businesses and start-ups.

Our focus on maximising the use of digital technology is already reaping benefits. As I outlined in the Assembly last week, earlier this month the commonwealth government’s Office of the Chief Economist released the Australian geography of innovative entrepreneurship report. The report found:

… on a population-adjusted basis the ACT is the highest performing of all Australia’s States and Territories on both innovation and entrepreneurship.

I am particularly pleased with the data on new business entries. With 245 new businesses per 10,000 population, we are far ahead of the second-placed greater, Melbourne, with 149 business entries per 10,000 of population. This is a great endorsement of our strategy. People in Canberra are willing to take the first step towards establishing their own business at a rate far higher than the rest of the nation. As a government, we will continue to work to give them the tools to succeed in a global marketplace.

Our strategy also committed us to working with the higher education and research sectors to grow a number of capability areas with one common feature: the need to manage, interrogate and transfer large datasets. This ability will underpin the new industries of the knowledge economy.

In fact, software engineering to manipulate and interrogate data will be the advanced manufacturing industry of this century. This use of data holds big opportunities for Canberra. For example, the space innovation cluster brings together the strengths of the ANU and the University of New South Wales in Canberra. The space industry is much more than rockets, Apollo missions and astronauts. It includes the provision of data and services that we all take for granted: mobile phones, GPS services, weather reports, environmental monitoring, surveying, aviation and security, to name just a few. In 2013 the global space industry was estimated to be worth $US314 billion.

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