Page 4322 - Week 14 - Wednesday, 27 November 2013
ACT. I have every confidence in the competency of the University of Canberra and its vice-chancellor, Professor Stephen Parker. He has created some marvellous business opportunities for the university and I have no doubt that his innovative business skills will see him overcome this minor setback.
When the massive budget blowouts that are being dealt with at the federal level are addressed—as they will be, as only Liberal governments can do—such projects as the UC sports common might have a chance to be funded. Until then, it is farcical, and fiscally and factually irresponsible, for Dr Bourke to come into this chamber and demand that the current federal coalition government take up and pay for every favour, fantasy and pork barrel that his party threw around like confetti in the lead-up to the election. If the UC sports common grant is not to be delivered, it is because it was not one that had been finalised before the election.
MR BARR (Molonglo—Deputy Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Minister for Sport and Recreation, Minister for Tourism and Events and Minister for Community Services) (4.27): I have got to say that in this place you will hear a lot of contributions and you will find out whether someone is for the city or for their party. And what we have just heard from Mr Doszpot is that Canberra comes a very distant second to the interests of his federal colleagues.
Let us be very clear. The UC sports commons project is an important infrastructure project for Canberra and for the University of Canberra. And you would have hoped that would be something we could get universal agreement on and that we could see support for this motion today—a unanimous position from the Assembly that this is an important project for the ACT, an important project for the University of Canberra, a project that creates jobs in our economy, a project that supports our local sporting organisations, a project that enhances learning for the university and for school students in the ACT and indeed in the broader region, and a project that builds on the University of Canberra’s reputation as Australia’s leading university for sport education. I would have thought that was something that was worthy of support this afternoon.
As Dr Bourke has pointed out, the federal government has indicated it will renege on funding commitments made to the University of Canberra, and it puts the project at risk of not being completed. It also calls into question the potential growth of physical literacy research in our local region, private sector investment in that research, scholarships and the work-integrated learning placements for UC students that were part of this proposal.
The University of Canberra is delivering new approaches that are driving innovation and jobs growth in Canberra’s economy. And the ACT government’s commitment and partnership with the University of Canberra through the UC’s allied health facility has directly led to the development of the University of Canberra public hospital, the headquartering of NICTA’s e-health living laboratory at UC and the establishment of the university sports commons.
As I have said in this place before, it is important to see these approaches as more than investment just in research opportunities, because, ultimately, they are much