Page 1054 - Week 04 - Tuesday, 24 March 2015

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the government’s commitment to growing the higher education sector and to enabling the University of Canberra to grow by developing its campus to become an even more attractive place for people to research, study and achieve tertiary and vocational qualifications.

We have a clear and strong vision for this sector and for the University of Canberra, which is set to become one of Australia’s most innovative tertiary institutions—world ranked, with a national reach and international reputation. The government is taking steps to attract the best and brightest to live, work and study in Canberra and ultimately to stay and invest in our city and our region—as a centre for research excellence; a place to kick off a career or run a business; and a place that leverages from our knowledge economy and the many areas in which we have, or we are rapidly building, a comparative advantage.

The University of Canberra is set to have a much bigger part to play in delivering this vision through providing quality education and research outcomes, by driving innovation and generating jobs and through developing better services and facilities for our community to share.

Just last week the Minister for Health, Minister Corbell, launched a new health research institute at the university. This institute will bring together expertise across disciplines at the University of Canberra to deliver improved health and wellbeing outcomes for the community. Researchers will work together on ways to improve lifespan health and wellbeing; disease prevention and treatment; and healthcare systems, research and technology.

The bill today is another step on the government’s path to modernise the University of Canberra Act by updating provisions about the operation of the council and to support the university in making better use of its property and developing its campus. The proposed changes will support the efficient and effective operations of the council, deliver better governance and enable the university to enter into commercial arrangements not hindered by unnecessary legislative restrictions.

The expansion of the University of Canberra’s functions will help to clarify that the university may provide services to the benefit of the broader community and that it may engage in public discourse. Facilitating commercial development of its property will create a greater range of economic opportunities and stimulate economic activity in the ACT region.

As I have previously mentioned, I have in recent weeks signed an agreement of strategic intent with Professor Parker, the vice-chancellor of the university, outlining our joint commitment to ongoing development and growth of the university’s Bruce campus. We are together committed to enabling the University of Canberra to attract broader investment in its campus. We expect this will grow job opportunities not just in the construction sector but in a range of sectors linked to the innovation, health and sports precincts planned for the campus.

When presenting this bill last month, I foreshadowed my intention to bring forward a range of changes to land planning and unit titling arrangements before June 2015 to

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