Mr HUSIC (Chifley) (13:37): Right now the Baird government is in the process of selling an absolute hothouse of innovation in Sydney: the Australian Technology Park. The site houses 100 resident technology firms, cranking out 5½ thousand research positions, but, if it were not for the actions of some, we would be completely unaware of the Baird government’s desire to turn ATP into a bland, papier-mache facsimile of the development that is already well represented in Sydney.
Fortunately, two people who know a thing or two about innovation are fighting to keep the spirit of ATP alive. Scott Farquhar and Mike Cannon-Brookes are co-founders of the home-grown software giant Atlassian. They have sketched out a vision for the site—a vision that could generate $400 million of value for the New South Wales economy over the next 10 years. They have spoken with five of the shortlisted ATP redevelopers to get their buy-in for a strong innovation precinct and they are confident that this might happen. To keep the heat on the issue, they have agitated for Sydney’s tech community to get behind the push to save it. Good on them for this incredibly important effort and good on the Financial Review and BRWfor spotlighting this and keeping us aware of what was at stake if this fire sale went ahead.
The test is now on the Baird government, with planning minister Rob Stokes finally agreeing that the government would consider bids on the basis of what they do to maintain an on-site innovation precinct. Hopefully, this will not conflict with the terms of the tender process, because we need to hold onto ATP. Let’s see what happens next. Please sign the change.org petition kicked off by Sydney Startups’s Matthew Ho to make sure we keep ATP.