Page 5219 - Week 14 - Wednesday, 29 November 2017

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by the Chief Minister. Canberra now has nation-leading capability for the design, assembly and testing of spacecraft and components.

As someone who has spent many years looking at innovation policy, and as the local member, I am looking forward to progress being made on the MOU with UNSW. A new campus of 10,000 students will confirm our status as Australia’s new education capital. UNSW Canberra at Reid would also create local jobs and be another beacon attracting the nation’s brightest minds to our city.

This is a fundamental part of our plan to grow our economy. The territory’s economy is diversifying. It is happening right now and it is happening thanks to this government and this Chief Minister. Education, research and innovation are critical to that strategy, and our existing universities have also been leading the way. Our modern universities, set in gardens of gum trees, have a proud history. It is this government’s mission to build on this, to strengthen and grow our higher education sector into the future, in partnership with our universities. As our city grows and evolves, it is clear that a strong higher education sector is central to our diverse economy.

As members probably know, the ANU was established in 1946 and has become Australia’s highest ranked university on a number of international measures. Its reputation for high-profile alumni and groundbreaking research is peerless in Australia. Canberrans should be proud of the fact that the ANU is ranked first in Australia and in the top 20 globally. According to the university, this means it ranks in the top 0.1 per cent of some 26,000 universities around the world. Australia does not really have the tradition seen in the US and the UK where people leave their home town or state to study elsewhere, but there is one exception to this rule, and that is the ANU, our national university.

In addition to courses like law, economics and medicine, the ANU has always been concerned with Australia’s place in the world, and in particular Australia in Asia. Today the ANU is still the only place in Australia you can study a diverse range of Asian languages at a tertiary level. This puts Canberra at the very heart of the opportunities on offer from the Asian century. The ANU is also the only university to have a display at the National Museum of Australia, a recognition of the important role this institution plays not only in Canberra life but across the country.

In April the University of Canberra was named one of the world’s top 100 young universities and in the top 30 for generation Y universities, those founded between 1986 and 2000. I was very pleased a few weeks ago to be part of the judging panel for the UC’s pitch for funds competition, where academics and researchers try to convince investors to fund their work. Similar to Shark Tank on television, its competitors have to convince the panel why they think their ideas are worth backing, and they have 90 seconds to do so. This year’s winners ranged from a project re-examining NAPLAN systems for regional and remote Australia to breath strength training in intensive care units, but there were many worthy projects being discussed at that event and the decision-making was incredibly difficult for the panel. It was quite the experience to sit back and take in the incredible talent we have right here in our city’s higher education institutions.

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