Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Direct international flights a game changer for Canberra

The announcement by Singapore Airlines last week of direct flights to Canberra Airport is a game changer that will connect Canberra and it’s surrounds to the world, boosting its international profile and economy.

From September, flights will be available from Canberra to Singapore or New Zealand, enabling Canberra to grow into a great ‘world’ city — taking its place on the world stage.

Singapore Airlines will fly direct services from Singapore to Canberra and Canberra to Wellington in a route dubbed the ‘capital express’, with four services a week to both capital cities on a Boeing 777-200.

The start of direct international flights is expected to create significant positive economic and social impacts for the city and the region in terms of trade, investment, higher education and tourism. Independent economic modelling indicates the new flights will be worth tens of millions of dollars to the economy and create hundreds of jobs.

The ACT Government, through VisitCanberra, is partnering with Singapore Airlines and the Canberra Airport Group to deliver cooperative marketing activity in South East Asia, connecting markets and New Zealand. This will support future growth and create positive benefits for the ACT community.

Capital Airport Group’s investment in the award-winning infrastructure at the Canberra Airport has created a more than fitting gateway to the nation’s capital. Over the past three years the ACT Government has worked tirelessly with the airport to develop robust business cases to attract new direct international air services to Canberra.

“I congratulate Mr Goh Choon Phong and Singapore Airlines for recognising the opportunity our region has for their business. I commend their commitment to Australia’s capital – a city that is confident, bold and ready for the world of opportunities that this historic announcement will bring. Stronger linkages between Singapore, Canberra and Wellington will continue to prosper and grow as a result of this partnership” said the Chief Minister, who was integral in making international flights a possibility for Canberra.

“I have led several trade missions to Singapore in recent years and each mission has seen more representatives from our tourism, business and education sectors participate. Aviation has been high on the agenda during these visits, and today sees the fruition of that hard work, perseverance and commitment. All great cities of the world have international connectivity – today our journey begins.”

The first flights, already a complete sell-out, are taking off mid September with tickets available this week.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Chief Minister Andrew Barr on the USA Trade Mission

Innovation is key to strong, sustainable economic growth and today I was pleased to meet with two innovative Canberra businesses whose success has extended all the way to Silicon Valley, USA.
QuintessenceLabs is a global leader and one of Australia’s most innovative science based technology companies.

Today I was pleased to join QuintessenceLabs as they announced their landmark partnership with global end-to-end manufacturing services provider SMTC.

SMTC will deliver contract manufacturing and systems integration services for QuintessenceLabs products, which includes technology that address the most difficult security challenges facing companies.

This new partnership exemplifies the great success that QuintessenceLabs has achieved on the world stage and is a key example of Canberra’s significant strengths in building industry sectors for the future.

In addition, QuintessenceLabs was last week named as a winner in this year's SINET-16 innovator competition.

SINET, which is sponsored by the US Department of Homeland Security, along with several other federal agencies, and large banks, is an organisation focused on advancing cyber security innovation through public-private collaboration. SINET-16 is the pre-eminent recognition, worldwide, for emerging cyber security companies.

QuintessenceLabs will now have the opportunity to showcase its capabilities to 300-400 senior cyber security leaders from the government and banking sectors at the SINET Showcase in Washington DC on November 4.

While in Silicon Valley I also had the pleasure of catching up with the team from Seeing Machines, which is another great company that started in Canberra and now enjoys multinational success.

Seeing Machines develops smart camera-based technologies for detecting driver fatigue and distraction behind the wheel, and recently signed a landmark deal with construction machinery and equipment company Caterpillar.

I was able to take part in a demonstration of autonomous vehicle simulator with eye tracking capability and experience the Seeing Machines technology that is already being used by mining, road transport and bus customers globally to reduce risks and save lives. This same technology is expected to appear in private passenger cars as early as 2016.

The ACT Government is exploring the possibility of developing the ACT as a location for testing, research and development activities for autonomous vehicles.

Exploring innovative technologies like this will make our roads safer, improve our urban environment and liveable city status, increase productivity and improve social inclusion by increasing mobility for people with a disability.

Canberra has been the home and creator of many world changing ideas and transformational technologies, and we love seeing local companies achieve global success, and I wish QuintessenceLabs and Seeing Machines all the very best with their new international partnerships.

This article was originally published by ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr at www.facebook.com/ABarrMLA

Thursday, 3 September 2015

CBR backs innovation

A strong and growing economy is essential for us to meet the needs of the Canberra community now and into the future. Our economy will grow, and we will create jobs and wealth, by accelerating our innovation sector and building on our strengths in higher education and service exports.

The ACT Government, through our renewed business development strategy, is continuing to put in place practical policies that create the right business environment and use our competitive strengths to accelerate innovation, creating jobs for Canberra.

One of the three strategic priorities outlined in the business development strategy is accelerating innovation.  As part of this we are providing additional funding to the CBR Innovation Network to support potential high growth businesses including the establishment of the new business incubator program, the KILN incubator.

KILN is a business program that aims to support budding Canberra entrepreneurs through a range of services including coaching, mentoring, business advisory and office space.

Today marks the opening of the 2015 competitive funding round of the CBR Innovation Development Fund.  The Fund has been designed to support a range of initiatives aimed at developing capability and investment across the ACT’s innovation ecosystem.

The Fund will offer $700,000 for initiatives that build the capacity and capability in the innovation ecosystem, demonstrate sustainable economic growth and promote local job development. In the 2016–17 funding round the amount will be increased to $1.45 million.

It is a working example of the Government’s commitment to diversification of Canberra’s economy by creating the right business environment, accelerating innovation to create wealth and jobs and supporting investment in future growth areas.

The higher education and research sector contributes $2.7 billion a year to our economy and creates 16,000 full time equivalent jobs for the Canberra community. This is why the Government has funded a number of innovation programs such as the Innovation Connect grants, which will be delivered in conjunction with ANU and UC’s Discovery Translation Fund.

Canberra’s higher education sector has made a strong commitment to the CBR Innovation Network and recognises that a dynamic innovation ecosystem will assist these institutions to achieve their goal of turning research into commercial outcomes.

We only have to look at successful Canberra companies such as FEI Australia, SmartWard, Enabled Employment and Aspen Medical to see that innovation is vital to strengthening and diversifying the Canberra economy.

My goal is to create more companies like these, which is why the government has decided to back innovation.

This article was originally published by ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr at www.andrewbarr.com.au.

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Launch of 2015 Chief Minister’s Export Awards


Nominations are now open for the 2015 ACT Chief Minister’s Export Awards, which recognise the important contribution that local businesses make to our economy through job creation and broadening our economic base.

The ACT has a thriving community of exporters. We contribute over 35 per cent of all Australian Government goods and services exported, and in 2013-14, 10 per cent of all Australian services in research and development (R&D) were exported from the territory to global markets – a significant national contribution.

The Awards, delivered in partnership with the Canberra Business Chamber (CBC), also acknowledge the innovation, hard work and success of Canberra businesses in reaching markets overseas.

From 2015, the ACT Government will double its funding for the Awards, providing $135,000 each year. This funding will be used to grow the Awards, highlighting those companies who are contributing to the more than $1.2 billion worth of products and services being exported annually from the ACT.

The ACT is also ranked nationally as having the highest concentration of knowledge-based activity, and the government is committed to continuing to work with our business community and higher education sector to reduce barriers and create an environment that fosters growth, innovation and entrepreneurship. The 2015-16 ACT Budget will deliver $11.75 million in new funding to support Confident and Business Ready: Building on Our Strengths, the ACT Government’s new business development strategy.

ACT Chief  Minister Andrew Barr said "I would like to take the time to acknowledge the work of the CBC, the ACT Exporters’ Network, and the positive working relationship the ACT Government has with Austrade and the ACT exporting community."

Previous Chief Minister’s Export Awards winners in all categories include Seeing Machines, Aspen Medical, Intelledox, Bearcage Pty Ltd, Datapod and the Royal Australian Mint.

"I urge all exporting businesses to enter these important awards and look forward to another excellent field of nominees. I also encourage those seeking export markets to take advantage of the ACT Government’s trade mission program" said the Chief Minister.

Find out more about the ACT Chief Minister's Export Awards.

Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander study and training grants now open


The second round of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Scholarship Grants, which support professional development opportunities, is open for applications with a total of $135,000 in funding available.

The aim of the program is to encourage and support local ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander residents to undertake study and training which will enhance and support their employment prospects and further develop their skills.

The first round funded 12 people in a varied areas of studies including social science, commerce, public management, arts, psychology and justice studies, diplomas in government, procurement, project management, beauty therapy and certificates in fitness.

The grants can be used for recognised training courses, as supplementary funding to participants on existing leadership programs for professional and personal development and also to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander residents working in the ACT who are undertaking entry level qualifications.

The program works towards fostering a better connected community where everyone has the means to contribute by empowering participants to develop their own individual skills which will strengthen the Canberra and wider Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

This program is just one way the ACT Government is working with ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders to improve educational outcomes and share a positive vision for the future of our community.

Individuals are able to apply for a grant of up to $5,000 and applications are open for four weeks and close at 5pm on Tuesday 30 June 2015.

To apply for the Scholarship Grants program or to obtain further information, phone 6205 1699 or visit www.communityservices.act.gov.au/atsia/grants