Page 1033 - Week 04 - Tuesday, 24 March 2015

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MR BARR: Through the development of the university’s campus and the construction of world-class research and training facilities, this agreement will lead to an expanded learning opportunity for prospective students. It will position the University of Canberra as one of Australia’s most innovative tertiary institutions with a regional, national and international reputation.

One in nine fellow Canberrans already studies or works in our higher education sector. This is the highest proportion of any city in Australia and perhaps one of the highest in the world. The sector is contributing $2.6 billion to our economy and there are 16,000 Canberrans employed. We are a proud university city, a true knowledge capital.

We seek, through these reforms, to empower the University of Canberra to grow, to create jobs for our city, to attract new investment and for the higher education sector to take its rightful place as one of the leading lights in economic growth in Canberra. On this side of the chamber we support this agenda proudly and we do note that those opposite, true to the Liberal position of wanting to cut higher education and not support this sector, are demonstrating yet again to the people of Canberra their disdain for higher education and the value that this sector has for our economy.

We will continue to campaign for a stronger University of Canberra. This side of politics believes in higher education: the value that that brings to our community and to our economy. We are not ashamed to say it and we will continue to campaign for it.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Smyth.

MR SMYTH: Minister, what was the average number of unit sales in Belconnen over the last five years, and will you table the analysis that shows the impact of an additional 200 units per year for the next 16 years in that market?

MR BARR: The average number of unit sales has exceeded that, with significant releases within the Belconnen town centre. The government looks to cater for a population in this city of over half a million within the next couple of decades. We will soon hit the 400,000 mark. We have a policy of urban infill, seeking to accommodate 50 per cent of the city’s population growth within the existing footprint. The availability of additional land will assist us in meeting our supply-side targets. As the shadow treasurer well knows, increasing the supply of land will assist in improving housing affordability. If the shadow treasurer wishes to stand in the way of the development of the University of Canberra and all of the possibilities that that brings for our economy then he stands condemned as a hypocrite and someone who does not truly believe—


MR BARR: I withdraw, Madam Speaker—and as someone who does not truly believe in one of this city’s strongest growth industries, higher education, and the capacity of the University of Canberra to achieve its full potential for higher education and for this city. This government supports that unashamedly and will prioritise this

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