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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 04 Hansard (Thursday, 22 April 2021) . . Page.. 1063 ..

Canberra Institute of Technology——Part 1.13

MR HANSON (Murrumbidgee) (11.52): In responding to the appropriation for CIT, at the outset I acknowledge the efforts of CIT, its teachers and staff and especially the students who faced up to and managed the challenges of the past year. Well done!

Looking to the future, I recognise the challenges faced by CIT over the past year and the opportunities that exist and that are arising in the vocational education sector. At these times, more than ever, the community needs creative, trained and enthusiastic new professionals joining the ACT workforce from CIT. It is these graduates’ innovative approaches and agile minds which will find new ways to deliver services that the ACT needs to continue to prosper in a world ever changed by COVID. In a world already full of disrupted technologies, COVID has added an urgency to prepare agile young minds to find and adapt new ways of doing things and CIT is at the cutting edge of their training.

I acknowledge the efforts made by CIT for its diploma of nursing students over the past year. The nursing diploma course prepares students for roles in hospitals, aged care, primary health and mental health. CIT was proactive in ensuring that these students were available for the extra staff demands in the health sector.

I look forward to seeing the reconfiguration of CIT identified by the CEO and wish the board inspiration in the challenging task in developing and implementing its Strategic Compass 2025: CIT futures. CIT will need to be adaptive and agile in what will be an ever-changing vocational teaching environment. With the challenges and opportunities ahead for CIT acknowledged, there are some areas that are showing concerning trends that will need to be addressed.

COVID has had a disproportionate effect on young people and their training opportunities. The commonwealth has provided one-off extra urgent funding in this area, which has been used to great effect by CIT. However, there is no guarantee that these sorts of funding will continue; and CIT need to continue to plan for potential funding shortfalls and its impact on youth training.

I am also concerned by the current decline in domestic students from outside our region and international students. CIT will need to develop innovative strategies to attract international students and obtain its market share of these students for the ACT once the COVID crisis is over.

I am also disturbed by the current five per cent decline in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students at CIT. The government champions the special needs of Indigenous Canberrans, and CIT is a critical pathway to opportunity for young Indigenous Canberrans. The decline in CIT Indigenous students is concerning.

The decision to close Woden CIT a few years ago was because it was then to be surplus to needs, and we were informed that the campus accommodated only 125 students and eight staff. I will be certainly interested to see how the plans for the new Woden CIT evolve. What impact does the lack of student accommodation have on those strategies? One of the underlying city-wide issues that impact on the ability of CIT to attract and retain new students is the cost of student accommodation. This will

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