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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 04 Hansard (Tuesday, 24 March 2015) . . Page.. 1053 ..

While the Liberal Party would like Canberrans to believe otherwise, the ACT government’s intention in bringing this bill to the Assembly for consideration is to support the university to make better use of its property, develop its campus and enhance its service offering to the community for the benefit of all Canberrans.

The University of Canberra site is largely undeveloped. With the recently proposed University of Canberra public hospital, the amendment bill will facilitate the ability for this campus to expand, become more financially sustainable and, importantly, provide more employment. A principal benefit of the Belconnen town centre master plan and the University of Canberra master plan will be the integration of the University of Canberra site with the Belconnen town centre, making the combined areas more accessible, safe and vibrant and generally a more interesting place to study, work and recreate for students and staff on campus. The National University’s exchange precinct adjoining city west in central Canberra is an extremely good example of how successful this can be, linking seamlessly the city and the university.

As a significant contributor to the provision of community facilities in Belconnen, the university has a real potential to further provide places for residents, workers, students and visitors to live and participate in activities and programs and provide for the expanded provision of community services. It is why we are working closely with the University of Canberra to help them realise this potential, and there is no better demonstration of that than the government’s commitment to build the University of Canberra public hospital.

It is not just about delivering a new healthcare facility, which is, of course, on its own a fantastic investment for the north side of Canberra and the first of its kind; it is also about the benefits which will be realised through the substantial investment by the ACT government that will go well beyond the hospital doors. The benefits will flow to the tertiary education centre through the creation of jobs and activity in the surrounding suburbs and the Belconnen town centre. It is opportunities such as these that master planning can help realise.

The government’s role is to ensure the Belconnen town centre is investment ready. It is up to all the sectors of our community to take advantage of these opportunities and to work with government to achieve success stories such as those being sought by the University of Canberra on its Belconnen site. Strengthening the relationship between the University of Canberra and the Belconnen town centre will also help ensure significant economic and employment benefits are realised, services, transport and amenities are effectively provided, and that the precinct becomes a competitive and attractive destination for investment. Enabling change at the university, including allowing for a broader mix of uses and permitting residential and commercial development, will ensure the university’s future and provide long-term benefits not only to the Belconnen town centre and surrounding areas but for our whole city and, through it, the region.

MR BARR (Molonglo—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Minister for Urban Renewal and Minister for Tourism and Events) (3.56), in reply: In closing the debate on the in-principle stage, I thank members for making their contributions. I have previously spoken in this place about

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