Page 394 - Week 02 - Tuesday, 17 February 2015

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The ACT government will be turning this vision into action through the signing of an agreement of strategic intent with the university in the near future to capture our shared commitment to growing the University of Canberra. We are already well underway, though. In December last year I announced that we are bringing forward reforms that will facilitate $1 billion in new investment, development, expansion and job creation on the University of Canberra campus and in the surrounding community.

The legislation I will introduce into this place later this week will cater to the needs of a modern university with diverse commercial and community interests. By removing unnecessary constraints on the university and amending the university’s governing act to clarify and adjust functions and governance, we are paving the way for the University of Canberra to achieve the vision set out in its master plan.

Among the current investments ready to go through to contract are residential housing, private health facilities based around the new University of Canberra public hospital, a technology park that will bring a range of businesses onto the campus and also aged-care provision. The new University of Canberra public hospital will provide the best models of care for inpatient and day services in rehabilitation, aged care and mental health, as well as allowing students to put their knowledge into practice.

Another important aspect of the relationship between the university and the ACT government is through the study Canberra initiative, which helps to promote Canberra as a destination of choice for world-class higher education. Study Canberra capitalises on our city’s educational and research assets, and demonstrates that we are a city that welcomes new ideas, new people and innovation.

Of course, these exciting projects are the culmination of years of hard work by the University of Canberra leadership. I want to acknowledge Vice-Chancellor Professor Stephen Parker and his team for their commitment to the University of Canberra and the broader Canberra community. I recently visited the campus, and there certainly is a sense of excitement, vibrancy and life and growth on that campus that we have not seen before in the institution’s history.

These coming changes that the government will introduce to the university’s governing act, our collaboration on a shared statement of intent and our joint vision and efforts mean that the university will go to being at the centre of an education revolution for this city. (Time expired.)

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Dr Bourke.

DR BOURKE: Minister, what benefits will flow to the wider Belconnen and Canberra community from this development?

MR BARR: The equation is very simple. By working closely with the university to modernise its governance, to develop a joint vision for the campus and to encourage innovative and entrepreneurial activities, we will bring more students, more researchers, more investment and more jobs to Belconnen and to the wider Canberra community.

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