Page 3910 - Week 11 - Tuesday, 19 September 2017

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government effort and we are working on investment attraction strategies in partnership with these sectors. This process involves bringing together our internationally renowned research base with lead companies across these sectors.

Securing direct international flights has contributed significantly to the capacity for Canberra businesses to advance opportunities in the international marketplace, particularly in those key sectors I have mentioned. In simple terms, international flight connectivity brings people, companies and organisations closer together. Connectivity opens up new markets, new capital investment opportunities and the exposure to, and exchange of, talent.

The government will continue to work closely with Canberra Airport as well as regional industry groups to advance further opportunities for international flights and for freight and will capitalise on the opportunities that are presented for our region. In this context Singapore is very much a priority market for the ACT, but Singapore is also not short of international partners. We have to be in these markets on a repeat basis, with a strong narrative and a compelling offering.

As I mentioned in question time and earlier today in my ministerial statement, our focus on the South-East Asian region, particularly Singapore, is paying dividends by driving business-to-business opportunities, encouraging new trade opportunities, supporting freight development and, as we have heard from Mr Steel and Mr Coe, bringing an impressive number of tourists to our city.

Important and effective bridging initiatives are, of course, trade and investment delegations. The government, with numerous industry partners, has delivered several trade missions to create tangible opportunities for Canberra and region businesses. Trade delegations are often a way of providing a soft landing for local companies with export capability in new markets and bringing them together with existing exporters so that they can market strategies and experience. Trade missions are also about promoting our city and branding our territory and setting up opportunities for local businesses to pursue further trade and export links.Through these initiatives there is no doubt that Canberra businesses have been much more outward looking. Some examples of this include the success of the Canberra online transaction business eWAY. Its acquisition by the American company Global Payments for $US5O million is an impressive recent example. Others include the Shaw Vineyard Estate opening a range of wine retail outlets in China, and Canberra start-up Mineral Carbonation International signing a $100 million MoU with Singaporean company ArmorShield Holdings, which has extensive networks and experience doing business in China. Canberra businesses involved in trade missions which have secured significant deals as a result include ONTHEGO SPORTS, QuintessenceLabs, Bottles of Australia, the Cogito Group and Seeing Machines.

As I discussed this morning, I attended the tourism ministers meeting in Beijing last month, which provided some further information and opportunity on Australian trade, investment and tourism policies and strategies in relation to China. We are continuing to pursue further engagement with China and particularly have an emphasis on aviation development in that context. The Australia-China free trade agreement, as

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