Page 1426 - Week 04 - Wednesday, 28 March 2012

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University of Canberra and Canberra Institute of Technology

Debate resumed.

DR BOURKE (Ginninderra—Minister for Education and Training, Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, Minister for Industrial Relations and Minister for Corrections) (2.57): I would like to thank Ms Hunter for her interest in the future of the University of Canberra and the Canberra Institute of Technology. The ACT government is committed to the reform of tertiary education in the territory and I am glad to see there are others who share our objectives. I seek leave to move the amendments circulated in my name together.

Leave granted.

DR BOURKE: I move the amendments circulated in my name:

(1) Insert new subparagraph (1)(e):

“(e) that the $1.75 billion National Partnership on Skills Reform will be discussed at COAG on 13 April; and”.

(2) Add new subparagraphs (2)(d) and (e):

“(d) not proceed any further with the collaborative venture until after COAG meets in April; and

(e) report back to the Assembly following this meeting.”.

The policy context of tertiary education is complex and changes rapidly. The stakes are high for industry, business, students and the community—and, of course, for UC, CIT and the government. Mr Speaker, there is no doubt that the tertiary education landscape nationally is changing. It is being driven by the changing needs of students and of industry.

The tertiary education sector includes vocational education and training and higher education. Supporting higher level education and skills and workforce development will be crucial as the Australian economy undergoes a major economic transformation. This support is vital as we contend with the mining boom, new technologies, clean energy, infrastructure investments, and the transition to a knowledge and service-based economy, as well as demographic change.

High quality education and training will help workers and businesses take up new opportunities emerging in the economy. The commonwealth and the ACT government recognise that they have a mutual interest in providing high quality and better higher education outcomes for students, business and industry, and that we need to work together to achieve those outcomes.

There are major changes occurring. Commonwealth funding for universities is no longer based on a certain number of student places per discipline. This is opening up

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