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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 07 Hansard (Thursday, 4 June 2015) . . Page.. 2049 ..

This bill has serious issues. It is seriously undermining the property sector and the property market in Belconnen in particular, but indeed across Canberra. It is unclear how the value of the land will be determined in order to charge rates and other charges. It is unclear how much control ACTPLA will have over what is developed at the University of Canberra.

It is also, of course, interesting to note that the multi-unit housing code will not apply to development on the University of Canberra site. This means that developers at this site will be at yet another advantage when compared to others, perhaps just a few hundred metres away, who will have to comply with the more onerous conditions that are included in that code.

While the government is happy to give the University of Canberra what it wants when it comes to exploiting land on that site, the opposition is very concerned about where this may potentially lead. The government is relying on the University of Canberra to do the right thing and not exploit the new powers it has been given. However, as I have said before, we have real concerns that there will be many serious impacts on the private sector, especially in Belconnen. The government should not be giving the University of Canberra so much power without proper checks and balances, especially when it risks distorting the market. Therefore the opposition will be voting against this legislation.

MR BARR (Molonglo—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Minister for Urban Renewal and Minister for Tourism and Events) (11.19): This bill is an essential component of our efforts to increase economic investment and create jobs in Belconnen and the wider Canberra region, not just through the immediate construction activity on the University of Canberra campus, but also by strengthening Canberra’s higher education sector over the longer term.

Unlocking and better utilising the land holdings of the university campus will create employment, attract investment and boost trade in education and other services. This is all about giving the university the resources to allow it to compete with the best universities in Australia and around the world and deliver the best possible higher education offering for students. That means attracting the best lecturers and researchers, giving students hands-on experience as part of their courses, increasing post-graduation employment prospects, and commercialising groundbreaking research discoveries.

By taking these steps now we will further strengthen our reputation as the knowledge capital of the nation. By growing the higher education sector and facilitating investment by the University of Canberra and its partners, we are diversifying the economy and creating new, highly skilled and well-paid jobs.

When Mr Coe’s colleagues casually rip out 5½ thousand jobs from our economy over the past 18 months, people ask, “Where are the new jobs coming from in our city?” The answer to that, in part, is higher education. It is one of our biggest export products, but we cannot just assume we can sit back and continue to benefit—something those

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