Page 716 - Week 02 - Thursday, 10 March 2011

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7. General factors influencing availability and access to appropriate accommodation for the core demographic group (18-25 year olds); and

8. Any other relevant matter.

I just wanted to make a couple of brief comments as to why the committee has resolved to conduct this inquiry. There has been quite a bit of discussion generally in the community about the availability of accommodation, and affordable accommodation, for students. I would just like to read out a few facts in relation to that, which is why this inquiry has been prompted. Enrolment numbers in ACT universities—ANU and University of Canberra—are over 30,000. More than 13,000 new students commenced in 2009. Enrolment numbers at the Canberra Institute of Technology were over 34,000 in 2009. From 2012, following the Bradley review, caps on the number of places each university can offer will be lifted, which will obviously have an impact on numbers.

On average, approximately 6,000 international students access education services provided in the ACT. I have heard anecdotally that we have a number of new students coming to the ACT as first-year entrants to university. We also have a number of students coming to do their masters or other forms of education at university. Obviously it is even harder for them to find accommodation. I think that what we have heard anecdotally is another factor in terms of including international students.

In 2009-10, ACT export income earned from education services was around $326 million, which is a significant figure. The ANU currently provides 4,600 beds for students and the University of Canberra has 1,600. Both have invested heavily in development of student accommodation, and that is something we have heard discussed at annual reports committees.

The CIT provides accommodation for 60 overseas students and is assessing the feasibility of further development to meet this need. I think all these factors demonstrate that this is a very important issue for the ACT. It is something which impacts on us not only economically but also socially. We do need to be looking at the needs of these students and how we can accommodate them in the ACT. The committee’s inquiry will consider how the ACT is responding to the accommodation needs of students, with the understanding that this will be a crucial factor in the future of tertiary education services in the territory.

Executive business—precedence

Ordered that executive business be called on.

Women—equity of remuneration

Statement by minister

MS BURCH (Brindabella—Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services, Minister for Children and Young People, Minister for Ageing, Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Minister for Women), by leave: I seek to provide the Assembly with a statement on the progress towards improving women’s economic and financial independence. This statement arises from Ms Hunter’s motion agreed by

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