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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 02 Hansard (Tuesday, 17 February 2015) . . Page.. 395 ..

The University of Canberra already has strong ties to the local community, to local business and to government, and it plays an important role in the lives of many people in Canberra and the region. A recent report by Deloitte Access Economics found that the University of Canberra and the ANU combined contribute over $1.7 billion a year to the territory economy and support more than 11,500 full-time jobs in our city.

With 10,000 international students and 10,500 interstate students living here, the universities’ contribution to our local economy makes the sector more valuable than the financial and insurance services and the utilities sectors. This is in part why the government is pleased to support the university’s plans to develop more residences on the campus and to invest in a sporting commons, a health precinct and to foster the growth of an innovation precinct around the campus.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Ms Porter.

MS PORTER: My supplementary question to the minister is: what will the housing expansion that you mentioned and the establishment of the hospital mean for students?

MR BARR: The government is reviewing the land planning and unit titling arrangements to better enable the University of Canberra to deliver our shared vision. This will mean better residential accommodation on campus so that students can focus on their studies and not worry about finding a place to live.

The new University of Canberra health innovation precinct will have a strong focus on subacute, primary and preventative health care and research, by building the hospital on the campus and co-locating university and ACT Health staff within the one facility. It will allow students to learn within a functioning hospital, increase opportunities for research at the coalface and promote the university as a regional hub for professional development of health professionals. Students will be able to access a diverse range of allied health professional training.

This is a clear investment from the government in our city’s future health and education needs and is just one example of how the university will stand out from the crowd of higher education providers over the coming years. Not only will it enhance the university’s reputation as one of the institutions whose graduates can be considered amongst the most employable in Australia but it will assist in growing the territory economy, diversify our economic base and ensuring that our university, the University of Canberra, has a very strong future in what is a challenging time for the higher education sector.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Ms Fitzharris.

MS FITZHARRIS: Minister, how does the ACT government’s collaborative and supportive approach to higher education compare with the federal government’s recent actions in this area?

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