Page 1080 - Week 04 - Tuesday, 5 April 2016

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MR BARR: It does not require the ACT government to approve every single one of those sorts of commercialisation opportunities. That is what this schedule addresses. It gives the university a greater degree of autonomy, recognising that they are a grown-up institution with their own council and governance arrangements. They are growing their reputation nationally and internationally. Mr Hanson wants a situation where the ACT government has to approve each and every one of these sorts of commercialisation opportunities. His interests are so caught up in the development lobby that that is all he can see in terms of what the university can achieve. He is focused entirely on development on the campus, as in the built form. He has paid no attention whatsoever in his comments or in his analysis of this legislation and the changes we are proposing to all of the commercialisation opportunities and all of the non-built-form commercial partnerships that the university needs to be in the business of achieving.

This is the ideas boom that his own federal leader is talking about, and he is directly opposing it. He and his party are directly opposing a specific initiative that would support our city’s university to commercialise its research. They would make it harder for them to do that. That is his position; he is so obsessed by reforms last year to allow the University of Canberra’s physical campus to develop that he is prepared to throw away a range of other opportunities because of that minute obsession. That reflects his lack of depth of understanding of higher education issues and research and commercialisation opportunities that our city’s universities need to be involved in.

This is our city’s competitive advantage. This is the future for our economy. There are fantastic opportunities to bring new research and development to the market, for this city to show national and international leadership in tackling many of the challenges that this city, this country and this nation face.

What is the position of the Leader of the Opposition? He is opposed. He is opposed because he views it entirely through a built-form development prism. He is entitled to his views in relation to buildings on the University of Canberra campus. Fair enough; be opposed to that. I do not care. But do not stand in the way of our universities commercialising their research. Do not put red tape in their way. That is what the Leader of the Opposition proposes through his attempt today to block this sensible amendment to regulation that supports the growth of the University of Canberra, supports further research partnerships and supports the commercialisation of great ideas that come out of our higher education sector, and particularly our city’s university.

The Leader of the Opposition is stuck in the past, while this government is prepared to make the changes that are necessary to support the growth of our city’s higher education institutions. Outside government, our universities are the city’s largest employers. One in nine Canberrans either works or studies at one of our city’s higher education institutions. They are fundamental to our city’s economic development. They are fundamental to building social and cultural capital in this city.

This is where we demonstrate national and international leadership, and this is where the Leader of the Opposition has manifestly failed that test today. And long may he continue to oppose the growth of the University of Canberra and to oppose the growth

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