Page 2040 - Week 07 - Wednesday, 15 May 2013
community to view and understand. As with the Gudgenby homestead, which I referred to earlier, all of these are an opportunity to promote, inform and educate our community about our heritage. In doing so, we strengthen the protection of heritage in Canberra.
MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Ms Berry.
MS BERRY: How is our heritage in the ACT supported in Ginninderra?
MR CORBELL: I thank Ms Berry for the question. Of course there are some very important heritage sites in Ginninderra, and the government continues to undertake work in relation to them. For example, the Ginninderra blacksmiths is a very important site. We have sites out in west Belconnen. As the government looks very closely at options for future urban development in west Belconnen, we also have regard to any heritage values in those locations and we will continue to focus on those into the future.
MR DOSZPOT: My question is to the Chief Minister. Chief Minister, the federal budget has confirmed the government’s intention to slash $2.6 billion from universities, including $1.2 billion abolishing student start-up scholarships. Given the high number of students in the ACT—over 32,000 at last count—and recent growth in enrolments, what analysis have you done, or will you do, to determine the impact of these cuts on the number of students who will attend Canberra universities?
MS GALLAGHER: I thank Mr Doszpot for the question. The priority for this government, and I think that is reflected in the decision that the incoming government took to create a portfolio ministry for higher education, is a very public statement about the priority that we are giving to higher education in the territory and how we are prepared, where we can, within the confines of our reasonably small budget, to leverage our support to growing the education side of our economy.
What we will be doing, Mr Doszpot is—instead of talking down the higher education system here, we will be talking it up. I met with the vice-chancellors yesterday. We had a good meeting about the way that we should work together in order to promote higher education here in the territory. Yes, efficiencies are being sought from the record level of university funding that has been provided from the commonwealth. Yes, the universities are getting less growth than they had anticipated. And yes, they are having to review their practices and their business operations to make sure that they can meet that reduction in growth that they were expecting across the forward estimates period.
But the advice to me from the universities is very optimistic. They are very pleased with the increase in enrolments. They are very pleased with the accommodation—the point that they have got with NRAS—and the support they have been provided with through the ACT government and the commonwealth government in providing accommodation for students, because that is helping them to attract students. And then they are very pleased to be working with us and our commitments around study