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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 09 Hansard (Wednesday, 23 August 2017) . . Page.. 3239 ..

MS FITZHARRIS: I thank Ms Orr for the supplementary question. For the 14,000 international students currently studying Canberra, some of the most popular areas of study are management and commerce, society and culture, mixed field programs, IT, natural and physical sciences, engineering, education and health. In the skills and trades sector they are electrotechnology, carpentry, plumbing, IT, early childhood education and care, business administration, community services and project management.

The majority of our international students studying full qualifications on student visas came from the Asia-Pacific region. The top source countries for Canberra’s international students as at May of this year were China, India, Korea, Malaysia and Vietnam. This is almost identical to the national data.

In order to help grow our international presence beyond the Asia-Pacific region and attract more students for long-term studies, several institutions are pursuing specific outreach and exchange arrangements with institutions and governments across Europe and in the Americas. Currently students from these regions tend to come to Canberra’s institutions for non-award, that is, short-term, studies and exchanges.

We are also exploring targeted strategies that hold promise of attracting more international students and researchers. For example, we are working with our institutions to build world-leading hubs in key sectors such as defence technology, cybersecurity, space technologies and new and renewable energy. We will continue to also look for opportunities in traditional sectors such as plant and agricultural sciences and healthy ageing and active living, where Canberra has another unique advantage.

Canberra Hospital—emergency waiting times

MS LAWDER: My question is to the Minister for Health and Wellbeing. I refer to a media release by ACT Health issued on 18 August 2017 which says:

The current increase in demand for ED services is putting pressure on our staff and we are seeing higher than usual waiting periods for non-urgent patient presentations.

Yet you advised the Assembly on 15 August 2017:

… Canberra Hospital emergency department waiting times are coming down.

Minister, how do you reconcile your claim of 15 August 2017 that Canberra Hospital waiting times are coming down with ACT Health stating on 18 August that waiting periods for non-urgent patient presentations are higher than usual?

MS FITZHARRIS: I thank Ms Lawder for the question. In relation to the statements made by health staff last week and the statements made by me, they are consistent because in my statement I referred to the trajectory of waiting times coming down. As we have seen and discussed in this place last week and this week, we do see pressure

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