Tuesday, 24 February 2015

International flights to NZ on the agenda

In the coming days, ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr will be meeting with senior Ministers in New Zealand and tourism and aviation industry representatives in Wellington and Auckland to discuss a range of visitor economy issues, including international flights from Canberra airport.

The Chief Minister said "New Zealand visitors are the highest contributor to Australia’s tourism industry in annual visits, however the country ranks as number five in the ACT’s own tourist numbers due to lack of direct flights."

"Direct flights from New Zealand present a great opportunity to boost our tourism economy. The move would also provide travellers from the Canberra region with a gateway to access New Zealand in a significantly shorter time.'

"The $480 million investment by the Canberra Airport means that we now have a world class aviation facility capable of handling international flights. Attracting new air services will help grow the ACT and regional economy, creating hundreds of new jobs.  In the next few days, I will be discussing the ACT Government’s willingness to pursue direct flight services as part of our 2020 Tourism strategy. This will help achieve our goal to grow the value of overnight visitor expenditure into the ACT to $2.5 billion by 2020."

Also on the agenda this week is a meeting with Wellington City Council, Grow Wellington and Positively Wellington Tourism. Discussions will include:
  • respective tourism strategies;
  • city branding;
  • infrastructure development, specifically transportation systems;
  • innovation ecosystems; and
  • closer economic cooperation between the respective capitals of Wellington and Canberra.

"On Friday, I will be participating in the Australia New Zealand Leadership Forum in Auckland, where key representatives from the trans-Tasman nations will discuss the strengthening ties in a variety of industries. I will also be visiting Christchurch to view the implementation of their urban renewal agenda in the wake of the devastating earthquakes that destroyed the city in 2010 and 2011."

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

"We Are CBR" resources

Since turning 100, Canberra has entered a new phase. There’s a genuine pride for what we’ve achieved so far and real excitement for the brilliant possibilities that lie ahead. If you’d like to tap into Canberra’s growing momentum, the Brand Canberra team have developed a range of free materials that you can download and display for your business or organization.

Whether you’re a local business, sporting group or community organisation, this is your opportunity to build on our city’s growing momentum by downloading and displaying our range of free CBR window stickers, logos, email signatures and more.

Just choose the colour that best complements your brand and tap into Canberra’s growing sense of pride and passion.

Friday, 13 February 2015

Local entrepreneurs and business start ups get helping hand

Chief Minister Andrew Barr, CBRIN CEO Sarah Pearson and Griffin Accelerator CEO Craig Davis

On Friday 13 February 2015 ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr MLA launched the 2015 GRIFFIN Accelerator program; a program conceived and managed by Canberra entrepreneurs who invest in, host, teach and mentor selected start-ups to create successful new businesses.

GRIFFIN has already completed one very successful program last year with all five participating start up companies receiving investment offers from around Australia at the end of the three month immersive commercialisation program. The 2015 GRIFFIN program will be bigger than 2014, with early planning to support up to 10 new innovative business start-ups.

The Chief Minister said "The ACT Government has placed support for business innovation centrally in its economic development agenda. We know that business innovation and entrepreneurship are essential to expanding the city’s economic base, diversifying our economy and creating new jobs for the future. Our policies and programs to in this area have been successfully guided by Growth Diversification and Jobs, A Business Development Strategy for the ACT"

"In my Ministerial Statement to the Legislative Assembly earlier this week, I announced new directions around procurement reform and advocacy for local SMEs and these directions will form an important part of a second phase of Business Development Strategy to be released in the first half of this year. Greater synergy between innovation policy and government procurement is something I know the business community is keen to see."

"I am delighted the ACT Government has been able to play a role in the establishment of the Griffin Accelerator through administrative funding support in 2014, and in 2015 through our support for the CBR Innovation Network" said the Chief Minister.

Innovators and entrepreneurs from Canberra and Australia are encouraged to apply for the GRIFFIN accelerator’s three month program supported by the CBR Innovation Network. For more information visit the GRIFFIN Accelerator website External Link - opens in new window.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Industry advocate to ensure level playing field for local business

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr has announced a new Local Industry Advocate position that will make sure local businesses get a fair go in government procurement.

The Advocate’s first job will be to work with local industry to identify improvements to government procurement processes.

The Chief Minister said "I am particularly concerned to ensure our rules and regulations are not designed around the compliance capacity or needs of big players in a way which distorts the procurement process against innovative local firms."

"Our local businesses tell me they don’t need protection or any special advantages, they just need a level playing field when they compete for government work."

"While the government will always get the best value for money for the community, it is important to do this in a way that creates opportunity for local business, creates local jobs and continues the government’s renewal agenda."

"The Advocate will work exclusively in the interests of the ACT business community to ensure work that can and should be done by local businesses stays in the ACT, building capability and economic activity in our city."

"Our vision for a growing Canberra economy is built on three strategic imperatives: fostering the right business environment, supporting business investment and accelerating business innovation."

"The business development strategy we launched two years ago has been a genuine success – ranging from stimulating the construction sector during a period of major Commonwealth sector contractions to the programs to assist former public servants transition into the private sector – and national surveys have rated our efforts for small and medium enterprises as nation-leading. As the Minister for Urban Renewal, as well as Chief Minister, I want to see our city grow, develop and thrive – and to do this we need a strong and capable business sector."

"Once established, I will also task the Local Industry Advocate to work with local industry to prepare an Industry Participation Plan.  This will renew our business development strategy as the economic situation changes and new opportunities and challenges emerge."

"I have begun consulting with industry to ensure the scope of the advocate’s role meets their needs before we start recruiting someone with the right mix of skills and experience to do this important job."