Page 3387 - Week 11 - Wednesday, 18 September 2013

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mining to query, summarise and discover relationships between biomedical datasets. So it is very important work that NICTA do. I urge all members to support the amendment.

DR BOURKE (Ginninderra) (4.32): Mr Assistant Speaker, much as we spend time in this place concentrating on our differences, I know the members opposite also have strongly held views about the future of our city and our country. This is a chance for the opposition to work with the government members to achieve something better for this city by supporting this amendment. This amendment calls on the Leader of the Opposition to adopt a bipartisan policy by issuing a public statement which unequivocally condemns the proposed cuts to NICTA as a short-sighted measure likely to slow productivity growth and cost jobs.

NICTA’s future, as has become clear today, is tied up with Australia’s economic future and Canberra’s future. We have heard from Mr Smyth previously about the value of NICTA. This morning you, Mr Assistant Speaker, also spoke glowingly of NICTA’s role. You highlighted the role of the Howard government in establishing NICTA in 2002 as part of the backing Australia’s ability initiative. The national support for NICTA is reflected in the partnerships behind it, including the Australian Research Council, the ACT government, the Australian National University, the New South Wales government, the University of New South Wales, the Victorian government, the University of Melbourne, the Queensland government, the University of Queensland, Queensland University of Technology, Griffith University, the University of Sydney and Monash University. It has created 11 new companies and worked with businesses across the nation fostering high-tech innovation and invention with a commercial focus.

I spoke this morning of the e-health living lab being built at the University of Canberra opening up new business opportunities and health benefits for Canberrans and all Australians. It is one example of NICTA’s work that is under threat. NICTA, as I said, is working on solar technology and solar economy with companies here in Canberra, including ActewAGL as well as with the ANU.

MR ASSISTANT SPEAKER: Dr Bourke, resume your seat for a second, please. Please stop the clock. Dr Bourke, we have had a number of repetitions, and, as you quite rightly keep saying, “I spoke”, “I spoke”, “I spoke”. You spoke about all those points, and you are repeating them yet again. Please stick to the point of the amendment.

DR BOURKE: In our ACT special schools, for example, we are using world-leading technology to assist children who are disabled to communicate, sometimes for the first time. I am sure you, as well as I, have seen children with severe disabilities overcoming the barriers to communicate with the latest technology allowing them to learn, joke and be cheeky in ways they could not before.

Other members today have shown just some of the vast array of new technology in use and under development in Canberra, including in the ACT government. The minister last year in this place said the ACT government’s involvement in NICTA will bring considerable benefits for the government, for local businesses and for the

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