Page 306 - Week 01 - Thursday, 29 November 2012

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economy to diversify but also looking at how we are training and encouraging smart people to come and live here and retaining smart people in jobs that are created here, whether it be in research, as an academic or providing some of the services that support the higher education work that is done in this town.

I look forward to rolling up my sleeves and getting involved in both of these portfolios to a much greater degree than has been done in the past.

MS PORTER: Madam Speaker, a supplementary.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Ms Porter.

MS PORTER: What are some of the key building blocks, minister, for the future success of higher education to our regional economy?

MS GALLAGHER: We do know that quality higher education, research and innovation are key economic drivers in the territory. We also know that the future ACT economy will require more workers who have high level skills gained through higher education and we also know that research conducted in universities will drive significant innovation in the Canberra region. So we have made some commitments. We made some commitments in the election around study Canberra, focusing on pulling together all of the stakeholders across the higher education community to make sure that we do truly develop Canberra as an education destination not just for local and regional students but for international students and students coming from major capital cities across Australia.

Last week it was great to be at the University of Canberra when the commonwealth government provided $26 million to the University of Canberra to allow them to continue the structural adjustments they will need to make in the new competitive higher education environment. It is great to see that university getting that support, along with projects like the subacute hospital that really do place that university on some very strong grounds when larger universities obviously have the edge in terms of the infrastructure and the capacity they bring to the competitive environment.

I am also pleased that we will start the discussions with the ANU around the additional support we provide them for the centenary chair in cancer research, to make sure that we can get that project off the ground. I know that the staff at the John Curtin Medical School are very interested in seeing that happen as soon as possible.

The Regional Development Australia committee—the RDAs; I think the ACT one is chaired by Craig Sloan—has acknowledged also through the work it has done that education is a key pillar in its own strategic plan for 2012-13. So, if we can work with the education providers and the RDA—(Time expired.)

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Coe.

MR COE: Chief Minister, how do you explain that blocks of land in Queanbeyan can be brought to the market at half the cost of Canberra blocks?

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