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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 11 Hansard (Thursday, 24 September 2015) . . Page.. 3474 ..

These are just two areas of the digital Canberra action plan that I believe will be well received by the community as they are practical and efficient.

Another area I would like to talk about is Access Canberra. Established in December last year to support and connect the community with ACT government services, the new government shopfront in Winyu House in Gungahlin is incredible. It offers a terrific service. Everything can be done at the touch of a button or you can speak to someone who has the knowledge to point you in the right direction for whatever you need to do.

Access Canberra consolidates several hundred web pages of information to make government information much more simple, intuitive and accessible. It uses technology to reduce red tape by increasing the provision of online services, including payment of rates, licence renewals and a variety of other government transactions. Access Canberra demonstrates again some of the practical priorities of the digital Canberra action plan, particularly when it comes to the areas of digital services and open government, which, as the Chief Minister has mentioned, are two of the five key priority areas.

The ACT government has long recognised the importance of digital technology to the territory’s economic growth and diversification. Accordingly, we have put in place a range of initiatives to maximise the many opportunities that will arise.

When it comes to our digital future, we must recognise that the NBN will also play a key role. The NBN is a significant contributor, the essential utility, that allows us to take advantage of all the opportunities of the digital economy. I fear there is a digital divide being created here in Canberra, though: as the Chief Minister said, many smaller companies and home-based businesses will be reliant on the full rollout of the NBN; it is fast becoming clear that only a federal Labor government will commit to a real NBN and get it rolled out here in Canberra.

The success of the CBR Innovation Network, which is fast becoming the go-to place for new digital entrepreneurs, is reinforcing Canberra’s reputation as a sophisticated centre for ICT business creation and development. The network is now engaging with over 1,000 people and businesses per month on entrepreneurship and company development. The CBR Innovation Network is an open collaboration of innovators dedicated to developing a thriving and diverse innovation ecosystem within the ACT. It recognises that our city has the potential to position itself as a globally recognised hub of entrepreneurial success—a clever, connected and creative city that attracts companies, ideas and talent. This government recognises the importance of fostering innovation in this city.

I was thrilled to see the federal Labor leader, Bill Shorten, announce just today that Labor will commit $5.5 million to create the option of a HECS-style loan for entrepreneurial university graduates who want to create their own start-ups. This will help grow Australia’s pool of young entrepreneurs. It sounds like a great idea.

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