Page 3343 - Week 11 - Tuesday, 22 September 2015

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The CIT Bruce sustainable skills training hub is an important part of CIT Bruce. As wind farm operations spread in our region and across the country, they will need more and more staff skilled in the new renewable industries. The support of the ACT government for higher education means we can provide these skilled staff. The Bruce campus in particular also covers several building trades such as bricklaying, plastering, landscaping horticulture and others. CIT Bruce provides for many of the more traditional fluoro-collar trades and industries. However it now goes way beyond that to other areas and provides degrees in a number of areas such as the Bachelor of Forensic Science (Crime Scene Examination) in partnership with the Australian Federal Police and the University of Canberra. CIT is one of Australia's pioneers and current leaders in the field of forensic science education, and trains crime scene examiners from every Australian state and territory police force, along with training international forces.

Canberra is becoming known around the country and our region as a knowledge capital. But in such a competitive sector, where students can choose from a thousand worthy places to study, each and every institution must be given the opportunity to improve. Universities cannot flourish when governments treat them simply as costs to be managed.

Working closely with Canberra’s higher education and research institutions is the key to growing and diversifying our economy. I am proud to be a part of a government that recognises the benefits of higher education for the individual, the community and the wider economy. The health of our city depends upon continuing this close collaboration into the future.

MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (4.11): It was interesting to hear Dr Bourke make the usual spray. I think he called us nay-saying and having a timid view. I think not. I think all would acknowledge that both sides have tried to do their best in regard to higher ed. We might have had different paths but I think of the success with things like Epicor, the medical school at the ANU and NICTA, amongst others. Indeed, building on the Canberra-Beijing sister city relationship ensures that we have had access to Chinese markets in education for more than 15 years and shows that we did have a view.

Dr Bourke spoke a little about innovation. Of course he was not here then but he has obviously forgotten that in 2006, in the first budget Chief Minister Barr participated in, all the business and innovation and entrepreneurship programs were gutted. They just disappeared—gone. It took the government many years to get them back into their budgets. We paid a price for that as a city. You should be very aware of your history, Dr Bourke, before you start sounding off like that.

Where a closer relationship with Canberra’s higher education sector works is when we work together. It is not when, for instance, changes are made at UC and the community is then told of the changes that, in effect, UC has the ability to now develop two suburbs worth of accommodation plus commercial and retail. It was not as though the community was asked what they thought about it; the community was simply told what was happening. Investors who had purchased blocks of land without any knowledge that the university might want to do something of a similar nature had no idea what was coming.

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