Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 02 Hansard (Wednesday, 15 February 2017) . . Page.. 514 ..
This is just one sector, and a small snapshot of how serious we are in supporting growth and collaboration across the sector, and realising the ACT’s enormous potential. As the Minister for Higher Education, Training and Research, I will continue to support this sector to realise its growth ambitions and increase its contribution to the ACT economy. We know that by growing this sector we can ensure our economy continues to diversify and strengthen so we are less reliant on the commonwealth public service and we cement our reputation as Australia’s education capital. I commend the motion to the Assembly.
MS STEPHEN-SMITH (Kurrajong—Minister for Community Services and Social Inclusion, Minister for Disability, Children and Youth, Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Minister for Workplace Safety and Industrial Relations) (4.52): Thank you to Ms Cody for bringing forward this motion to highlight the work of the ACT government to pursue economic diversification and growth in the territory. I wish to take just a moment to focus on one of the initiatives highlighted in the motion—that is, the Canberra Innovation Network. Established in 2014 with the goal of accelerating innovation and diversifying the ACT region’s economy, CBRIN, as it is known, is recognition that Canberra is ideally placed to be a leader in innovation in Australia due to the high concentration of world-class education and research institutions in the territory.
As many members will know, the network supports a range of programs within the ACT, including the Griffin Accelerator and KILN Incubator, Entry 29 co-working space, and Lean Startup workshops. I do not have time to list all the activities that CBRIN undertakes for, indeed, it runs 22 programs. It has held 312 events in its short life involving 10,500 participants and has supported 56 businesses.
I visited CBRIN in my previous role shortly after it opened, and last year I went back for the Indigenous business trade expo. That was the first one they held, and I was amazed to see the growth in CBRIN’s activity in its space. It is important to recognise the diversity of businesses that CBRIN supports. It is not just about software; I saw businesses working in fashion and textiles, and I spoke to a young man who was starting a media company and seeing great success.
The network is well served by the collaboration of its six foundation members: the ANU, CSIRO, Canberra Institute of Technology, Data61, University of Canberra and UNSW. I particularly want to acknowledge that the network has been extremely well served by its founding CEO, Dr Sarah Pearson, who will be moving on from this position early next month. I first met Dr Pearson when she worked in the Office of the Chief Scientist, and I was absolutely delighted to hear about her appointment. I think we can all agree that she has driven CBRIN to grow at an incredible rate and to achieve things I am not sure many of us would have understood could be achieved in such a short time.
Dr Pearson has been the public face of ACT innovation and a prominent advocate for the ACT in national and international forums. She has seized opportunities and identified gaps. She understood, and CBRIN understood, when many public servants in this town were being made redundant that they had an incredible base of skills that