Page 960 - Week 03 - Thursday, 19 March 2015

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opportunities. Locating the hospital on the UC campus provides close links with the university and the research sector.

In the last couple of weeks the Chief Minister signed an agreement of strategic intent with Professor Parker. This agreement outlines the joint commitment between the university and government to the ongoing development and growth of the university’s Bruce campus. This government is bringing forward a suite of reforms that will facilitate $1 billion in investment, development and expansion and, importantly of course, job creation on the UC campus and in the surrounding community.

The UC master plan sets out a range of investments on the horizon, including the development of a sporting commons, a health precinct, an innovation precinct and more residential accommodation on the campus. By reducing red tape and freeing up the UC to attract broader investment in the university campus, we expect to grow job opportunities in the construction sector and ultimately in other sectors linked to the different precincts planned for the campus.

The planned campus improvements will help to attract more students, academics, researchers and visitors to the territory, and will further establish the ACT as a destination of choice for people in the higher education and research sector. They will consider relocating from interstate or overseas. The agreement is a demonstration of the Barr Labor government’s commitment to encouraging future growth of the higher education sector and creating more job opportunities in the territory.

Next week we will be debating amendments to the University of Canberra Act that will help create a greater range of economic opportunities for the University of Canberra, enabling it to broaden its revenue base and lessen its dependence on government support and government funding. The amendments will also broaden the sphere of functions, enabling delivery of more services to the community.

Moreover, consistent with being a modern university, the wider functions will include support for cultural, sporting, professional, technical and vocational services, as well as participation in public discourse. The importance of building our universities and growing this sector is, without a doubt, a key priority for this government. I look forward to watching these developments come to fruition. As a member of this progressive Labor government, I am proud to be able to highlight this important sector today.

In closing, I would like to thank all who work in the higher education sector in the ACT and wish all our students enrolled throughout our many campuses all the best for their futures in their chosen vocations.

MR BARR (Molonglo—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Minister for Urban Renewal and Minister for Tourism and Events) (4.00): I thank Ms Porter for bringing forward this matter of public importance this afternoon. It is very timely to be talking about higher education and what governments can and should be doing to support the sector—in light of the second failed attempt by the federal government to deregulate university fees and cut university funding.

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