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Business gets boost in Baird's jobs push

AAP logoAAP 18/08/2016 By Stefanie Menezes

NSW businesses will be able to access millions of dollars in government grants as part of Premier Mike Baird's push to attract one million jobs to the state by 2036.

Entrepreneurs and fast-growing small businesses will be particularly targeted as the government fights to lure back the dozens of start-ups who have shifted their business to other jurisdictions.

Outlining his vision to drive the state's jobs growth on Friday, Premier Baird said that if government carried on "with a business-as-usual approach", current forecasts suggest up to 600,000 thousand jobs would be created in 20 years.

"The question is how much further can we stretch it?" he said during a Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) event in Sydney .

As part of that bid, international companies will now able to access $30 million from the government's Jobs for NSW fund to help them relocate their headquarters.

Another $30 million will be allocated to a program aimed at growing regional companies.

Despite only making up 6 per cent of businesses in the state, small and medium businesses created more than one million new jobs between 2008-2014, according to the government's Jobs for NSW report, Mr Baird said.

Those fast-growing, small-to-medium size companies - known as gazelles - will now be able to access a $50 million loan guarantee program and $3.5 million direct loan pilot program while another $10 million will go towards growing the state's network of so-called start-up incubators and accelerators.

Global firms, the so-called disruption economy, such as Uber and AirBnB, and the digitisation of jobs are just some of the challenges the government needs to plan for, Mr Baird said.

The biggest of those challenges was the state's ageing population, with the ratio of working-aged people to others to fall by a quarter.

The private sector would need to pull its weight to encourage this phenomenon, as well as increase the number of people aged over 65 in the workforce, the premier urged.

Labor shadow treasurer Ryan Park meanwhile labelled Mr Baird's annual State of the State address as PR spin.

"Why would anyone believe Mr Baird's target for local jobs when yesterday, with the stroke of a pen, his government sent 1200 new manufacturing jobs offshore?" he said, citing the government's decision to award its $2.3 billion contract to build the next fleet of intercity trains to a Korean-based company.

At least 80 protesters, along with Greens MP Mehreen Faruqi, also rallied outside the CEDA event to lobby against the government's proposed biodiversity laws, which they say will lead to more land clearing and environmental destruction.

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