Digitial and Innovation Sector Support

Digitial and Innovation Sector Support

(Verbal Question, Legislative Assembly NSW Parliament)

Mr ALEX GREENWICH: My question is addressed to the Deputy Premier, and Minister for Trade and Investment. Given the changing nature of the global economy, what commitments will the Government make to support the digital and innovation sectors, including helping small businesses in those sectors to grow?

Mr ANDREW STONER: I thank the member for Sydney for his very intelligent question—unlike those I am asked by the Opposition. That Sydney is undeniably Australia's digital and innovation hub was confirmed last year by a survey conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers and Google. The survey revealed that 64 per cent of all technological start-ups in Australia are based in Sydney. Moreover, last year the global start-up eco index confirmed Sydney's position as a global trendsetter, matched only by Silicon Valley in terms of adopting new technologies, management processes and business models.

Mr Nathan Rees: Like you.

Mr ANDREW STONER: We will not have to suffer the Luddite from Toongabbie much longer because his own party has lodged a submission that will result in his electorate being redistributed out of existence. Fancy that! He has been stabbed in the back by his own party, not once but twice.

But back to the serious issues in which I know the member for Sydney takes a great interest, even if Opposition members do not. The New South Wales Government is not prepared to sit back and rest on its laurels. As strong as Sydney and the rest of New South Wales are in this space, there is more we can do. That is why quite early we established a Digital Economy Industry Taskforce and we consulted with experts to produce a Digital Economy Industry Action Plan, which I commend to the member for Sydney and to other members who may be interested in this critical topic. We understand that the New South Wales Government's primary responsibility is to provide the right conditions for digital businesses, entrepreneurs and start-up organisations to not only start, grow and compete but also connect to the global economy. That means reducing red tape, creating the right kind of infrastructure and planning environment, providing leadership to champion business interests and increasing collaboration to drive innovation and therefore competitiveness. They are the fundamental principles guiding our Government's Economic Development Framework, which is a document I also commend to the member for Sydney.

Only last week, in the same week that Twitter joined Google, Amazon and other leading global technology companies in establishing their Australian headquarters in Sydney, I invited 270 of Australia's leading chief executive officers and business leaders to gather in Sydney to learn more about our city's credentials as a leading digital and innovation hub. The New South Wales Business Leadership Forum confirmed that Sydney is primed to build on its global reputation as one of the world's smartest cities, with our start-up community now delivering solutions for some of the world's most pressing problems. It also highlighted the need to better engage with Sydney's growing army of tech-savvy entrepreneurs to create innovative solutions to improve business competitiveness generally. The Government's multimillion-dollar Innovate NSW program provides an ideal vehicle for that type of collaboration.

Innovate NSW drives strategic collaboration between start-ups, researchers, major corporations and end-users to develop leading edge products and services in key industry sectors. It provides targeted support for start-up companies to trial their ideas and develop world-class solutions using enabling technologies such as mobile, cloud, analytics, sensors, advanced materials and biosciences. We also are fostering collaborative opportunities for Sydney's technological start-ups through support for co-working spaces like Fishburners, with which I know the member for Sydney is familiar, and through our international networks, including our new San Francisco trade office that has been established by this Government very close to Silicon Valley. We also know that talent begets talent—particularly in the technological sector where entrepreneurs thrive on the creativity of those around them. We have been working with the Committee for Sydney to build a better understanding of the drivers and barriers for global talent to move to Sydney as part of our global talent hub initiative.

Of course we continue to showcase our entrepreneurial and innovative capabilities to the world through our ongoing support for CeBIT, which is the biggest business technology conference and exhibition in the Asia-Pacific. Earlier this year the Premier announced that we have secured the event for Sydney for another three years.

I know the member for Toongabbie wants to get Brian Eno back. That is his type of event. There is much more I could say, and I will be happy to inform the member for Sydney at a later stage. The Opposition is not interested.

Let's work together to celebrate and protect our great city!