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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 06 Hansard (Wednesday, 13 May 2015) . . Page.. 1749 ..

Similarly, our advocacy for direct international flights into Canberra is based on the region’s population and beyond. I certainly look forward to the ACT government’s ongoing participation in the Canberra region initiative and continuing to develop the Canberra brand. These initiatives truly reflect the collective identity of our region.

I commend Dr Bourke for explicitly linking entrepreneurship and business with our higher education sector and in particular the actions that the ACT government is taking to allow our world-class higher education providers to create partnerships with commercial enterprises. It is of great regret that the desire for these collaborative partnerships is not supported in a bipartisan way in this place.

Nevertheless, the government will forge ahead, because it is the right thing to do for Canberra. The first stage of this collaboration and the work that we are encouraging was through the University of Canberra Amendment Bill that was passed earlier this year. It certainly clarifies the university’s governance arrangements and also, importantly, puts it on a much more assertive footing when commercial partnership opportunities arise. The government will bring forward the next stage of reforms as early as tomorrow to facilitate $1 billion in new investment, development, expansion and job creation on the University of Canberra campus and in the surrounding community.

Let me be very clear about our intent: we want our universities to be able to aggressively compete with their competitors in Australia and around the world for investment, for new students, for the best academics, the best researchers and the strongest possible commercial partners.

In an emerging global knowledge economy, standing still, shuffling our feet, looking down on Canberra’s development and blocking sustainable revenue streams for our university sector, as some have proposed, simply means stagnation, leaving their future in the hands of Christopher Pyne. That, I am sure, is something no-one in this place wants to see happen. Other universities will pass our universities on world rankings. We simply cannot allow this to happen. We will work with our universities. We will make our campuses attractive and vibrant.

We have seen a very practical example of this occur in partnership with the ANU in city west, just across from this place. It has made our city better, it has made the university stronger, it has attracted more students and it has been a very positive outcome for Canberra. Now it is time to support the University of Canberra in their next phase of development—the development of their sporting commons, their health precinct, their innovation precinct—and to provide more residential options on the campus.

Together, this suite of initiatives and reforms provides the right business environment and plays to our key competitive strengths to accelerate innovation and investment in the territory. Government, our business partners and universities will come together to build a stronger and more resilient Canberra economy. (Time expired.)

MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (5.41): I thank Dr Bourke for putting the motion on the notice paper. It is another very interesting motion from Dr Bourke. It is interesting

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