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ACT budget needs best bang for buck

Robyn Hendry New

The ACT has weathered a number of challenging years with a slowing of the global economy combined with a substantial contraction in the employment and spending of the Australian Public Service. A deficit of over $400 million is forecast for the ACT Budget in 2015-16.

The strength of the ACT’s business sector has played a key role in protecting the economy during these difficult times. In fact, indicators are increasingly positive for the ACT economy.

The October 2015 CommSec State of the States report, found the ACT now has the fastest annual economic growth rate in the nation, up by 4.0 per cent on a year ago.

This growth is helping businesses feel positive about the future. The latest Sensis Business Index shows confidence among small and medium businesses (SMEs) in the ACT is currently the highest in the nation.

In light of all these factors, Canberra Business Chamber has called on the ACT Government in its 2016-17 Budget submission to continue to take a relatively conservative approach to spending, but focus funding on targeted programs which will support business expansion.

The Canberra Business Chamber is recommending a series of measures that require modest, and in many cases non-recurrent, funding, but which we believe can generate a significant return on investment.

Business Trade Liaison Officer

As the seat of Australia’s Parliament, Canberra is a natural base for organisations, agencies and individuals who value regular contact with the Federal Government.

The ACT is home to nearly 80 embassies and high commissions representing the needs of their own nations and seeking to strengthen ties with Australia.

These embassies present a relatively untapped potential to engage with current and prospective export markets on behalf of ACT businesses.

Canberra Business Chamber is proposing the 2016-17 ACT Budget provide funding for employment of a Business Trade Liaison Officer.

The Business Trade Liaison Officer would strategically work with embassy staff responsible for trade to understand these markets in order to gather and share intelligence with ACT business.

This resource will take the ACT engagement with embassies and high commissions from a transactional approach to a more systemic approach, which will have positive benefits for all ACT businesses – current and future – who are exporting expertise and products to international markets.

Internship coordinator

One of the ACT strongest sectors is its education industry. Our world-class tertiary and technical education providers not only attract students from interstate and overseas, but help prepare our future workforce.

Canberra Business Chamber believes it is essential to integrate ACT employers, both private and public, into the growth strategy of our education and training industry.

It is recommending a dedicated resource be funded to develop and maintain a comprehensive relationship between the labour market and education and training institutions.

The Internship Coordinator will help ensure education and training and work experience support the future needs of the ACT labour market and students.

By identifying and matching education and training opportunities with work placements and internships, this initiative will help students get work ready, provide employers with experienced staff and reduce the risk of future skills shortages.

It will be the role of the Internship Coordinator to motivate and support employers to provide workplace experience to ensure there are enough placements to support growing student numbers.

Increasing the number of students who undertake internships and work placements in the ACT and ensuring this is a mutually enjoyable and beneficial experience is also expected to increase the number of people who stay and work in the region after they graduate.

To see the full Canberra Business Chamber 2016-17 ACT Budget Submission, visit www.canberrabusiness.com.

Robyn Hendry, CEO
Canberra Business Chamber
www.canberrabusiness.com

Canberra Business Chamber

Back to Business with Ian Harper, Partner Deloitte Access Economics and author of ‘Building the Lucky Country’ Thursday 11 February 2016 Hyatt Hotel, Canberra

4.00pm – 5.00pm followed by cocktails in the courtyard
Details www.canberrabusiness.com

Contact the Canberra Business Chamber Team:
Phone: 6247 4199
Email:[email protected]
Web: www.canberrabusiness.com

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