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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 7 Hansard (15 August) . . Page.. 2170..

MS PORTER (continuing):

Spending on research and development by the higher education sector in the ACT in 2004 was equivalent to 2.39 per cent of the ACT's gross state product. This is the highest proportion of any jurisdiction and well ahead of the second highest jurisdiction, South Australia, with 0.54 per cent of GSP. Overall business expenditure in research and development has more than doubled over the past four years, from $27 million in 1999-2000 to $61 million in 2003-04.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics report Research and experimental development: higher education organisations confirms Canberra's position as one of the most intensive centres of research in the nation. Around $800 million is spent on research and development in the territory, with more than half being spent in the highest education sector. The government sector is investing more than $300 million per year on research and development in the ACT and more than $60 million is being spent by the private sector.

The Australian National University is consistently rated as Australia's top university in various international rankings and in the top 25 universities worldwide. The ANU currently spends well over $600 million per year. Let us not forget the significant contribution of the CSIRO to research and development in Australia. Twenty-two per cent of CSIRO staff are located here in Canberra and the CSIRO is rated as one of the four most influential research agencies in the world in the areas of environmental and agricultural sciences.

Statistics consistently confirm that the ACT has the most highly educated work force of all jurisdictions. In 2005, 32.6 per cent of people in the ACT aged from 15 to 64 had a bachelor's degree or higher compared with the national average of 19.6 per cent. This is an increase from the 2003 rate of 29.8 per cent. In addition, 7.8 per cent of people in the ACT hold a postgraduate degree and, at 88.1 per cent, we have the highest retention rate of full-time students from year 10 to year 12.

The ACT is ranked as having the highest concentration of knowledge-based activity in Australia. Information communication technology is a key industry in Canberra, and our strength in ICT was fundamental to our success in securing the national ICT Centre of Excellence. This will see an investment of $380 million in the ACT by the commonwealth government.

We have a large number of international students in the ACT, coming from every corner of the globe. They recognise that the ACT is a great place to study and a great place to access one of the best centres of education in the world. In 2005 we had over 6,000 international students studying here, and that is a 20 per cent increase on international student enrolments since 2002.

Canberra is also a centre for biotechnology. The ANU has specialist biotechnology centres, the John Curtin School of Medical Research, the Research School of Biological Sciences and the Australian Phonemics Facility. Some of their researchers are Nobel Prize recipients and they should be congratulated on that.

The University of Canberra houses the Gadi Research Centre in medical and health sciences, while the National Health Sciences Centre carries out research for many

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