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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 04 Hansard (Wednesday, 29 March 2017) . . Page.. 1245 ..

MR STEEL: Minister, what risks are there to recruiting the world’s best researchers and academics when the federal government moves agencies out of the national capital?

MS FITZHARRIS: Our city, as we know, has a great reputation for higher education and research. Canberra is known as a—

Mr Hanson: Spend more time checking your health data, Meegan.

MADAM SPEAKER: Sit down, please, minister. Mr Hanson, that interjection was really out of order. If you want to address the minister, you address her as “minister”.

Mr Hanson: I have tried, Madam Speaker. I have tried every time to get a supplementary. You have never given me one.

MADAM SPEAKER: Mr Hanson, you are warned.

MS FITZHARRIS: As we know, Canberra is known as a knowledge hub, a centre of excellence in higher education and, as the capital city, the home of many commonwealth departments and agencies. But our research sector is not just about the buildings on our campuses, hospitals and other academic precincts; it is much more about the researchers who choose to make Canberra their home.

They make that choice because they see opportunities to collaborate with commonwealth agencies. Whether these researchers work in the agriculture sector, the defence and space industries or climate change, for example, these are very compelling reasons to work in the capital city alongside commonwealth agencies that deal with these issues. The ACT government plays an important role in facilitating this collaboration.

If you were a young, aspiring researcher, for example, in the cyber security sector, you would want to work here alongside our national security institutions. In 1988, the Hawke government relocated the Australian Signals Directorate from Melbourne to Canberra because there was a compelling national interest argument to centralise the critical aspects of our defence capacity in the capital. Again, that decision was right then and it is right now.

Around this critical infrastructure, we have been able to build a complementary research sector providing jobs to hundreds of Canberrans. As Australia’s capital, we are at the forefront of decision-making and policymaking and we are home to a variety of world-class cultural institutions.

All of these reasons are why a growing number of students, and indeed the world’s best researchers, are choosing Canberra as a place to live and study.

Ms Stephen-Smith: Madam Speaker, I know that there is not a lot of interjection going on, but with all the muttering and murmuring over there I was finding it very hard to hear Ms Fitzharris.

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