Page 3351 - Week 11 - Wednesday, 18 September 2013

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MS GALLAGHER: I thank Ms Porter for the question. The recent study delegation to China was a great opportunity to travel with the vice-chancellors of both ANU and UC and hear firsthand from partner universities, alumni, business leaders and also education agents about their views of Canberra and ideas on how to support further growth in our higher education sector.

As well as visits to universities in Beijing and Shanghai, the delegation also visited the Huawei Technologies research facility. I met with Zhenfa, a Chinese company involved with the solar farm at Mugga Lane, and also the mayor of Beijing.

I would like to thank all of our Chinese hosts for their warm hospitality and many productive meetings which highlighted opportunities for us to build on existing education and business links.

Our delegation was a show of unity from the ACT community, both government and universities working together to cement Canberra’s place as a learning capital. Our partnership in this goal is the founding principle of study Canberra and through this collaboration we will continue to promote Canberra with a strong and coordinated campaign.

The China visit was an opportunity for me as Chief Minister and Minister for Higher Education to promote the city overseas and show our strong commitment to growing our international student market, the unique experience Canberra offers for studying and living, the significance of the higher education sector to our city and new possibilities as part of our relationship with our sister city Beijing, which has been in operation now for over 12 years. It was also an opportunity to spread the word that Canberra is a place where people come to learn, to exchange ideas, to invest, to undertake research and to discover solutions and reach their potential.

Through study Canberra we have taken an important step in sharing this message abroad, and it has resulted in a number of outcomes and also future opportunities—certainly strengthening the relationship and development of new initiatives between the ACT’s two main universities and universities in Beijing and Shanghai, exploring possible partnerships between universities and our school system, a new undergraduate work experience program and academic exchange program with Huawei Technologies in Shanghai for local students and academics—giving them exposure to one of the largest research and development companies in the world—renewal of our sister city relationship with Beijing, including opportunities to strength ties in the fields of business, culture, education, recreation and sport, and strengthening of strategic relationships with businesses in China such as the Zhenfa New Energy Group.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Ms Porter.

MS PORTER: Chief Minister, what were the key messages that you took away from your meetings with Beijing universities, particularly in terms of promoting and further developing Canberra as the first-choice destination for study?

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