Thursday, 30 October 2014

CBRfree public Wi-Fi goes live in Civic


ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher has today launched CBRfree public Wi-Fi in Civic East – the first area of the city to go permanently live with Canberra’s new free public Wi-Fi network.

At the launch, the Chief Minster also announced that service provider iiNet will increase the download limit of CBRfree from 100 megabytes per day (3 gigabytes per month), to 250 megabytes per day (7.5 gigabytes per month).

“This is a significant moment for Canberra and represents the ACT Government’s commitment to our future as a smart and digital city,” the Chief Minister said.

“We want to ensure Canberra is a place where businesses and entrepreneurs can compete globally in new knowledge-based and ICT industries.

“The rollout of CBRfree Wi-Fi will continue to make Canberra a place of influence and innovation. It will encourage vibrant town centres where Canberrans are connected to their community and are able to engage with Government services easily.

“It is fantastic that iiNet have offered to increase the download limit of CBRfree to 250MB at no additional cost to the Territory. This allows iiNet to create a homogenous service across the cities in which it delivers free public Wi-Fi while giving Canberrans even greater connectivity.

In May this year, the Chief Minister announced that as of October Civic East – from Garema Place to the Convention Centre, round to Gorman House and up to Girrahween Street in Braddon – would be the first area of the city to go live with CBRfree public Wi-Fi. This would be followed with a staged rollout in other town centres and commercial precincts over the following 12 months.

“The next area of Canberra that CBRfree public Wi-Fi will be rolled out in is Civic West – from Moore Street to the New Acton precinct. This area is scheduled to be fully live in January 2015,” the Chief Minister said.

“Over the coming months, as free public Wi-Fi is rolled out across all of Civic, Canberrans will start to see signage that will identify the free public Wi-Fi hotspots. I encourage you all to log on and check out the new network,” the Chief Minister concluded.

CBRfree public Wi-Fi was recently made available at this year’s Floriade and was incredibly popular. There were more than 48,000 sessions and nearly 13,000 unique users connecting to the network over the duration of the festival.

The new free public Wi-Fi service will provide users with 250 megabytes per day, totalling 7.5 gigabytes per month. An example of the type of internet activity Canberrans will have per month is:
  • the capacity to send around 15,000 emails (without attachments);
  • make around 1,500 Facebook posts;
  • download about 525 songs; or
  • download roughly 1,500 photos.

For more information on the rollout of CBRfree public Wi-Fi visit www.digitalcanberra.com.au  External Link - opens in new window.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

New laws to reduce red-tape for food businesses


New laws to be introduced into the Legislative Assembly this week will reduce red-tape for several food businesses and community groups by removing the need for not-for-profit groups to appoint a food safety supervisor when fundraising, Chief Minister and Minister for Health Katy Gallagher announced today.

"The ACT Government listened to the concerns raised by members of the community about some of the requirements that were placed on local community groups and sporting clubs when it came to handling and selling food, and these changes address these concerns," the Chief Minister said.

"The proposed legislation also seeks to strike the right balance to reduce regulatory burden on food businesses, while at the same time protecting the high standards of food safety enjoyed by the Canberra community when eating out."

If passed, the Bill will reduce red tape for businesses that sell only shelf-stable foods, including packaged cereals, breads and long life milk. These businesses, which pose a low risk to public safety, will no longer have to notify ACT Health of their operation.

The Bill will also allow food businesses to register for up to three years as a further red tape reduction measure. Currently, all businesses must register annually.

"Within the community sector, the Bill removes the requirement for fundraising non-profit community organisations to register and appoint a Food Safety Supervisor, regardless of the types of food being sold. This will not only reduce the regulatory burden on these organisations, but support the sale of more nutritious options, such as fruit salad and soups at fundraising food stalls," the Chief Minister said.

"The ACT Government will continue to improve its online resources to make it easier for food businesses and community organisations to understand food safety requirements and their role in protecting public health.

"As an important food safety measure, it is intended that all food-related activities conducted at large public events, such as the National Multicultural Festival, will continue to be regulated however the ACT Government will establish a streamlined process for event registration.

"ACT Health is committed to working with industry and has established a Food Regulation Reference Group to collaboratively discuss food regulatory issues and improve communication between ACT Health and the food sector. The group, which held its first meeting in September 2014, comprises representatives from industry, government and public health organisations," the Chief Minister concluded.


Further information about the proposed options to deregulate businesses operating in the food sectors is available by calling the Health Protection Service on 6205 1700.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Streamlined ‘digital ID wallet’ from Imagine Team wins top Canberra SME innovation award


Winners of round 2 of the Digital Canberra Challenge

A prototype app giving Canberra residents the ability to seamlessly access a wide range of local services has secured first place – and a $12,500 cash prize for Canberra’s Imagine Team – at the Digital Canberra Challenge External Link - opens in new window awards this week.

Imagine Team’s 'digital ID' wallet gives users one app instead of a myriad of cards to access buses, libraries and other government services. The app, called ‘Cardly’ is the brainchild of co-creators Zakaria Bouguettaya and Andrew Clapham. The prototype app incorporates MyWay cards and ACT drivers' licences but can be extended to include other services. Bouguettaya said he will use the cash prize to further develop the prototype.

“I want to thank NICTA’s eGov Cluster and the ACT Government for backing the Digital Canberra Challenge. The support that this competition is giving to innovative SMEs in Canberra has been fantastic,” said Mr Bouguettaya.

Mr Bouguettaya says he anticipates using the money on extending the concept of Cardly, and investing on his other venture, QuicklyPay.it. As for the next steps for Cardly, Mr. Bouguettaya is in discussions with government agencies to see how the concept can be rolled out for a private beta, and what would be needed to see it through to reality.

The runner-up app came from local start-up company Basement Labs. It aims to streamline information about the Canberra Hospital for patients, visitors and staff. Tim Ainge from Basement Labs has trialled the app in the hospital’s new paediatrics ward. “The value of the app is in providing information in smaller and more relevant ‘chunks’, making it easier for people to consume,” said Mr Ainge.

This awards were presented last night at NICTA’s Canberra Laboratory by ACT Deputy Chief Minister Andrew Barr. He also launched round three of the Challenge. “Through the Challenge, we have seen SMEs challenging the status quo and thinking deeply about the issues facing our government. These businesses have been focussed on developing the right solutions for these challenges. The Digital Canberra Challenge encourages ACT public servants, and the local community, to get involved in thinking differently about our government and developing new and better ways for us to do business,” said Minister Barr.

Michael Phillips, Manager of the NICTA-led eGov Cluster said: “Once again, the diversity, drive and resourcefulness of Canberra’s innovators was on show in the Digital Canberra Challenge. Congratulations to the winners!”

Digital Canberra Challenge is an ACT Government initiative to engage Canberra’s brightest minds to help build and support a dynamic, healthy and prosperous Digital City for the 21st century.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Canberra opens its doors to Shenzhen City in new economic agreement


Canberra is set to benefit from an economic cooperation agreement signed today by Chief Minister Katy Gallagher and the Mayor of Shenzhen Mr Xu Qin, in China, marking a new era of collaboration between the two cities.

“This memorandum of understanding opens the door to a range of significant new opportunities for Canberra businesses with a city which plays home to some of the largest technology companies in the world,” the Chief Minister said.

Shenzhen has a population in excess of 15 million people and an economy eight times the size of the ACT and 15% of the size of the Australian economy.

“There are many similarities between the cities of Canberra and Shenzhen but in the first instance areas like innovation, high technology, education and environmental protection have been nominated as the priority areas to focus on,” the Chief Minister said.

“We know a number of Canberra based innovative ICT businesses are pioneering digital and other high
tech projects which are grabbing attention internationally and I hope that this economic cooperation deal will help them and others to build and promote their businesses and help them to establish in such a significant overseas market.”

The agreement will diversify Canberra’s economy by prioritising business investment, strengthening the education sector and building Canberra’s vision as a digital city.

The MOU highlights two-way investment and cooperation between the companies and institutions of Canberra and Shenzhen, on areas of shared interest including technology, innovation and industry.

This agreement with the Mayor of Shenzhen builds on the existing relationships Canberra already has with China including most importantly the well established sister-city agreement with Beijing in 2000.

“The MOU will reinforce the importance and growth of the ACT’s exporting community, and I hope that it will have significant benefits for the local economy,” the Chief Minister said.

“This agreement outlines a commitment to look for opportunities to connect Canberra and Shenzhen through Digital Canberra Action Plan initiatives, including the proposed Digital Hub.”

The Chief Minister also participated in a roundtable discussion with key business leaders in Shenzhen where she was able to showcase investment opportunities in Canberra.

“I had the opportunity to promote Canberra to investors by providing information on a number of our biggest and most exciting projects, such as City to the Lake and Capital Metro, which are priority infrastructure projects for Canberra,” the Chief Minister said.

“Other ACT Government initiatives such as Study Canberra, Digital Canberra and Visit Canberra were also highlighted, as well as our significant capabilities in research and development.

“Today’s discussion also focussed on digital industry and innovation and included discussions with some of Shenzhen’s biggest and most innovative companies.

“My message to Shenzhen businesses is that Canberra is open for business and ready for international investment and partnerships,” the Chief Minister concluded.

Today’s signing ceremony signifies as important step forward for Canberra as a global city. Partnering with one of the world’s most rapidly developing, innovative and dynamic economies is a very positive development for Australia’s national capital.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Seeing Machines named 2014 ACT Exporter of the Year


2014 ACT Chief Minister's Export Awards winners

Canberra-based technology company Seeing Machines has been crowned ACT Exporter of the Year at the 2014 ACT Chief Minister’s Export Awards held on 14 October 2014.

Seeing Machines is renowned for developing state of the art fatigue and distraction monitoring technology, including the Driver Safety System (DSS) which is already being used by mining, commercial road-transport and automotive industries worldwide.

The company, which was founded in 1999, now has 95 employees working across Canberra, San Francisco, Arizona and Tuscany, with export sales accounting for 53% of its revenue.

Seeing Machines recognition as 2014 ACT Exporter of the Year comes a month after the company announced a collaboration deal with Samsung which aims to bring face and eye tracking technology to the consumer electronics market.

"We are delighted to be recognised as the 2014 ACT Exporter of the Year," Seeing Machines CEO Ken Kroger said.

"Canberra is a great place to do business. The collaboration between organisations such as NICTA and the ANU are part of a small technology community that come together to share resources and ideas and support each other."

Seeing Machines have also signed a three-year strategic agreement with Electro-Motive Diesel Inc. which will introduce their state-of-the-art Driver Safety System to the rail industry.

Canberra Business Chamber CEO, Chris Faulks, congratulated Seeing Machines on winning the 2014 ACT Exporter of the Year, as well as the Information and Communication Technology category for the second year running.

"Seeing Machines success is a testament to the growing strength of the export industry in the ACT", Ms Faulks said.

"Since winning the Information and Communication Technology category at the Export Awards last year Seeing Machines has grown considerably and this award is due recognition for their achievements.

"Seeing Machines, along with the other 10 category winners, is a prime example of the innovative, global success of ACT exporters who use our country’s capital as a base".

First time winners in this years Export Awards included iSimulate (Education and Training), OnTheGo (Online Sales), as well as Frameskin and Austranter Medical, who shared the Emerging Exporter award.

The full list of winners for the 2014 ACT Chief Minister’s Export Awards:
  • ACT Exporter of the Year – Seeing Machines 
  • Business Services – Intelledox 
  • Education and Training – iSimulate 
  • Environmental Solutions – Windlab
  • Health and Biotechnology – Aspen Medical 
  • Information and Communication Technology – Seeing Machines
  • Manufacturing – Datapod 
  • Online Sales- OnTheGo 
  • Small Business – IE Asia Pacific 
  • Emerging – Frameskin and Austranter Medical (ACT only) 
  • ACT Exporting Government Solutions – Royal Australian Mint (ACT only) Exporting To Asia – Intelledox (ACT only) 

All ACT category winners will qualify for entry into the 52nd Australian Export Awards which will be held in Melbourne in November.

The ACT Chief Minister’s Export Awards are an initiative of the ACT Government delivered by Canberra Business Chamber.

Monday, 13 October 2014

ACT economy and StudyCanberra to form focus of China discussions


Promoting Canberra as an investment location and developing agreements to boost the local economy will be high on the agenda when Chief Minister Katy Gallagher visits China this week.

"I will be conducting a series of meetings with significant Chinese investors as well as Chinese companies which already have a keen interest in Canberra, like Huawei," the Chief Minister said.

"These meetings will not only help to further develop the trade and economic relationships that have been established during previous trips to China but will aim to build new avenues for the ACT Government to pursue which relate to our government priorities, such as StudyCanberra and major infrastructure projects like the City to the Lake development."

"I am looking forward to my discussions with the Mayor of Shenzhen, Mr XÇ” Qín, who we have been working closely with to develop an economic memorandum of understanding (MOU) between our two cities," the Chief Minister said.

"Shenzhen is a city of 10.6 million people and has an economy which is eight times the size of the ACT and 15% the size of the entire Australian economy. This MOU will be a great opportunity for the ACT to strengthen trade and investment relationships and promote tourism and education.

"This MOU will also present new and exciting opportunities for Canberra businesses to build new relationships with Chinese businesses but also to attract investment opportunities in government projects like City to the Lake," the Chief Minister said.

The new relationships created during this visit will build on the existing strong relationship that Canberra has had since 2000 with the Chinese Capital Beijing and I look forward to the imminent opening of he Chinese Garden which symbolises this important relationship.

Friday, 10 October 2014

Business Connect October 2014


The October issue of our Business Connect Newsletter is now available. Stories inside this month's issue include: Winners of the 2014 Canberra BusinessPoint Awards announced; Canberra based accelerator participants pitch to investors; Legal assistance for local small business; and more.

View the October 2014 Business Connect Newsletter.

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