Page 4160 - Week 13 - Wednesday, 18 November 2015

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Marketing CIT’s expertise in vocational education is part of the plan, with Minister Burch recently promoting CIT in India and signing MOUs with several Indian educational institutions. Of course, CIT already attracts a range of international students who come here to complete CIT courses, further boosting our economy. CIT is also part of our regional economy and community, attracting cross-border students to study who in turn also contribute to our economy. Our economic fortunes are shared. If the region is doing well so is Canberra, and vice versa.

The combined Canberra region population is forecast to be over 800,000 by 2030. Our economic prosperity will continue to be closely linked. Already we have more than 44,000 students in Canberra at CIT and the five universities here. One in nine of our residents works or studies at a university or CIT in the ACT.

I spoke last night of the recent renewable energy day at the sustainability hub at the CIT Bruce campus in my electorate of Ginninderra. It is a wonderful example of CIT’s being integral to meeting our region’s industry needs while creating training and qualifications to meet students’ needs in emerging industries. At the same time, CIT is helping to diversify our economy with the launch of CIT Bruce’s renewable energy skills centre of excellence. Through partnership with industry, it will meet the training needs of the Canberra region renewable energy industry initially and over time it may come to serve a much larger industry base as currently there are no comparable courses available in Australia.

From semester one next year it will offer training to operate and maintain wind energy systems including the turbines that dot the region. Collaboration with energy industry companies will give students access to hands-on experience as they study and graduate with industry-relevant qualifications. In the future CIT Bruce plans to offer training and qualifications in areas of renewable technology such as solar, microgrids and battery technologies.

SERREE, which stands for the south-east region of renewable energy excellence, was one of the sponsors of the renewable energy day, along with Windlab, one of the winners of the ACT’s wind auction, and the CIT. The SERREE industry cluster is an initiative of Regional Development Australia ACT and NSW branches covering the Canberra region. The SERREE network has over 500 members including renewable energy businesses, researchers, interested community members, educators and governments collaborating on renewable energy in our region. It includes wind farms, solar businesses, a diverse range of stakeholders and other renewable energy interests in our region.

SERREE has launched maps of renewable energy trails across the region with Canberra as the hub. Current trails cover Canberra renewable energy installations including the largest geothermal heat pump in the southern hemisphere at Geoscience Australia and CIT. The snowy loop trail includes hydroelectricity at Jindabyne and solar at Royalla. The northern loop visits wind farms east and north of Goulburn. The eastern loop goes to wind farms east of Lake George and the Woodlawn bioreactor. SERREE’s plan is to further develop these trails with interpretive signage integrating them with the other regional tourist drives covering gourmet food areas and areas of cultural interest.

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