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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 09 Hansard (Tuesday, 21 August 2018) . . Page.. 3359 ..

We will also continue to roll out two important grants programs to encourage women to enter traditional trades and mature-aged students to re-engage or reskill in their chosen fields. Madam Speaker, as our city experiences a shift in pace more than ever before, and growth, the higher education, training, research and vocational educational sectors are a strong contributor to shaping that change that is giving the Canberra region an edge as a world-class, stronger knowledge economy.

MR WALL (Brindabella) (6.10): I rise to speak on the budget line item relating to the CIT. As a member for Brindabella, representing Tuggeranong in this place, it would be completely remiss of me in this debate not to mention the inequity of higher education facilities in the south compared to those in the north of Canberra. Despite the assurances of the government and officials that this is not the case, the facts speak for themselves. The only physical presence of a higher education campus south of the specialised Fyshwick trade centre is a very small facility operated by CIT in the Tuggeranong town centre.

Once again, as has been the case for a number of years, the discussion during estimates hearings this year centred on the future of the Woden CIT campus and the courses and students that have been operating out of there. The committee was informed that only 125 students and about eight staff need relocating. That number, 125, is still a significant number of students. I would be very interested to see some further data extracted relating to where those students and teachers are now being placed and how those course completion rates have followed. I reiterate for the record, though, that my personal view is that the south of Canberra, particularly Tuggeranong, is in dire need of a greater presence of tertiary education options and a further education presence.

Those opposite often point to the small CIT campus in the Tuggeranong town centre as a success on their part, but I would remind members that the course offerings at the CIT in Tuggeranong are very limited. A wider selection would always be welcomed, and in my belief would be well subscribed to by those in the southern parts of Canberra.

I acknowledge the good work being done by CIT in adapting to the changing needs of our workforce by ensuring that the courses on offer across the campuses reflect the skills that will be required into the future. I have heard firsthand from Canberra businesses that are forging ahead in many diverse industries, particularly in the cybersecurity field, that they are working closely with CIT and they are encouraged by the home-grown talent in this field of network and cybersecurity that is being fostered through some very diverse and cutting-edge courses operated by CIT.

I want to note the acknowledgement by the minister and CIT officials during estimates hearings this year that CIT relies on and continues to operate a flexible workforce. They underline that as key to the successful operation of CIT. In a response to a question relating to staffing levels at CIT, an official said:

I think it is really important to know that CIT has a responsive workforce. In fact, when you look at how it is made up from an FTE perspective, 40 per cent of our workforce is made up of non-permanent staff. That enables us to be able to meet the training needs of our students.

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