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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 11 Hansard (Tuesday, 22 September 2015) . . Page.. 3349 ..

Another practical example is the government’s work with the University of Canberra to transform its campus into a thriving and vibrant 21st century learning environment. Dr Bourke has updated the Assembly on the progress of this campus revitalisation. By the government acting to remove unnecessary impediments on university development and governance, we are certainly paving the way for the University of Canberra to achieve its potential and its vision.

The signing of an agreement of strategic intent with the University of Canberra has seen the formalisation of our commitment to assist the university to diversify its operations, develop its campus, attract cutting-edge research organisations and increase commercialisation opportunities. It is here where the contrast between the two sides of politics is quite stark. Those opposite have voted against these essential improvements at the University of Canberra not once, not twice but on three separate occasions. They have voted against attracting a billion dollars in new investment to our city’s university. This will be a major draw to Australia and to the world’s top students, research organisations and companies.

Our approach is to support the University of Canberra to grow—to grow rapidly—and to be successful. Those opposite would appear to prefer that our own university be stuck in the past with limited offerings and second-rate and ageing facilities and drift off the edge of world rankings. Fortunately, the University of Canberra, and Vice-Chancellor Stephen Parker, has a willing supporter in this government, and we will be with the university as it continues to drive up its place in the world university rankings. That is how a forward-thinking government acts to support such an essential component of our city’s education system.

We are also working to ensure that students who are studying in Canberra are given the best possible introduction to our city’s life, to recognise what a special and exciting place it is to come to study. For example, in August the ACT government delivered the Study Canberra Student Welcome at the National Gallery of Australia. It was hosted by the Minister for Education and Training. The event was attended by more than 250 students and staff from all ACT higher education providers.

I am pleased to also advise the Assembly that the ACT Study Canberra India Scholarship program has attracted a high calibre of students and a strong number of applicants with 10 eventual winners. This program brings in more than a million dollars to the ACT economy in the coming year alone. We are the only jurisdiction in Australia that coordinates its university open days to allow students to visit all potential study options. We are putting Canberra first and encouraging prospective students to visit multiple providers to find the right education for those students.

We are incredibly lucky to have such a nationally and internationally regarded higher education sector in our city. But this does not happen by accident and we cannot afford to be complacent. Only by the ACT government working closely with our universities, the Canberra Institute of Technology and our public sector research bodies will we ensure that our city remains Australia’s knowledge capital. I thank Dr Bourke for bringing forward this important matter of public importance in the Assembly this afternoon.

Discussion concluded.

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