CBR: Confident and Business Ready

The ACT Government is committed to maintaining and building a strong and sustainable economy for Canberra and our region. A strong economy also underpins the government's ability to meet the needs of the Canberra community now and into the future.

The ACT Government's new business development strategy, Confident and Business Ready, reflects on how our economy and business community has developed over the last three years and makes sure we remain well positioned to continue our growth, create jobs and seize new opportunities in future years.

We remain committed to the three key objectives of creating the right environment for business; accelerating innovation; and supporting new investment in our economy.

Confident and Business Ready includes a range of actions we will pursue in partnership with the business and innovation community to achieve these objectives in the coming years.

The strategy recognises that creating the right business environment is the most important thing that the government can do to assist all 25,000+ businesses in Canberra. To this end we are continuing to forge ahead with regulatory and tax reforms that make it cheaper and easier to do business in the Territory. 

This includes the establishment of Access Canberra and eliminating more red tape, increasing the payroll tax threshold, eliminating inefficient taxes and duties and new procurement policies designed to make it easier for local business to benefit from ACT Government expenditure.

Our second goal is to accelerate innovation to create wealth and jobs. In the new strategy we are committing to working even more closely with the higher education and research institutions to deliver even better economic development outcomes for the people of Canberra.

This sector adds $2.7 billion a year to Canberra’s economy and creates 16,000 full time equivalent jobs. As an early indication of our commitment to the sector I recently announced a fee exemption for the dependants of international Higher Degree by Research students attending ACT public schools. This decision will save HDR students with dependants $12,000 a year for each school age child and will make Canberra a much more attractive destination for highly talented international researchers to pursue their careers and knowledge building.

We have also committed to accelerating innovation in the broader business community through the Innovation Network, which now has the infrastructure in place to support high growth potential companies, including the Entry 29 co-working space, the Griffin Accelerator and the KILN incubator. This model of innovation support has been used successfully in places such as Silicon Valley and Boston and will make a significant difference to Canberra’s economic diversification.

The third aspect of the strategy is to support business investment in future growth areas and will see us further boost our activities aimed at increasing trade and investment with key markets in partnership with industry partners including the Canberra Business Chamber.

A number of initiatives in our renewed Business Development Strategy will leverage ACT Government purchasing as a catalyst for local business growth.

In particular, the Small Business Innovation Partnership program will use government procurement to uncover local innovation by allowing local businesses to directly engage with the ACT Government to develop new products that meet an identified need outside of normal procurement process.

This approach not only produces benefits for government procurement, but as a result, innovative companies will 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 development of a program that will maximise benefits for industry.  I am happy to report there is a great deal of excitement and energy about this program and the possibilities it will create for our local entrepreneurs.