Flinders university


Mr DULUK (Waite) (12:29): I rise today to make a few remarks in regard to the Flinders University (Remuneration of Council Members) Amendment Bill. Of course, universities are a vital part of the fabric of our state and our nation. Indeed, in my community and the member for Davenport's community, they are a very important part as well.

The bill makes a few changes, but by and large it brings Flinders University in line with and on the same footing as the University of South Australia in terms of payment for council members and the ability of the council of Flinders University to set levels of payment for its members, and that is so important.

In my contribution today, I would like to talk a bit more broadly about Flinders University. We know it is a globally renowned precinct. It is known for its leadership, its innovation, its enterprise and especially for its work in the area of health and education. There is a campus in Bedford Park and also an additional campus in Victoria Square. More recently, in the last couple of years, they expanded into the new Tonsley Innovation Precinct as well.

The work that the university is doing at Tonsley, in collaboration with industry, stakeholders and the state government, is fantastic and transformational and will really see the inner south explode in terms of innovation, advanced manufacturing and creating an employment hub—more importantly, an educational hub—around Tonsley and using that old Mitsubishi site to its full potential, which is fantastic to see.

Offering more than 160 undergraduate and postgraduate courses, as well as higher degrees, the university is a modern university that caters for tens of thousands of students, which is so important. It was founded in 1966 and naturally is named after Matthew Flinders. Coincidentally, in today's paper there is an article about Matthew Flinders being interred in his home town and moved from Euston in the United Kingdom. I think an honourable member in the other house was talking about how Matthew Flinders could perhaps be interred here in South Australia, given his contribution to the founding of our state, finding our state and charting the course of the great southern land.

Sir, you will be interested to know that the Queen Mother officially opened Flinders University in 1966 when the university had just 400 students, and of course Flinders Medical Centre was built on adjacent land.

A really exciting thing that is happening at Flinders at the moment is the Flinders Link Project. I know that for many residents in the member for Davenport's electorate, and indeed in my electorate as well around Bellevue Heights and Eden Hills, they cannot wait for this project to happen. I understand that it should be this time next year that the project is completed.

It is fantastic to see public transport going into that Flinders precinct. It is a $125 million project co-funded by the federal government. I have to praise my federal colleague and the local member, Nicolle Flint, for her advocacy over the last several years to find funding for this project, and of course the Marshall Liberal government as well for funding this most important project.

The project is a 650-metre extension of the Tonsley line. There will be an elevated track over the fantastic Darlington project over South Road. It is really going to create accessibility for residents of Bedford Park in my community, as well as for students at Flinders University, to not only connect with the metropolitan train network but to give them easy access to get into North Terrace and into the City of Adelaide. That connectivity between the universities on North Terrace and Flinders, and more importantly between the two health precincts at the RAH and at Flinders, is going to be fantastic.

Another really exciting project that the university is embarking on is Flinders Village—the university's plan for a health, education and accommodation precinct to be built around the railway station at Flinders on the main oval. It will be centred around the new Flinders Station. Flinders Village will transform the campus into a vibrant urban centre in Adelaide's south that will become a lifestyle focus for southern Adelaide.

What is happening with Flinders Village and what is happening at Tonsley is going to reinvigorate the south and lead to more investment, and we are already seeing that. On Monday night, I was very fortunate to be there when the Premier opened the new development at the Marion Hotel, a fantastic pub in this precinct. There are new accommodation facilities.

I have to congratulate the Hurley Hotel Group on their substantial investment in the south. Peter Hurley, the proprietor of the Hurley Hotel Group, said that one of the main drivers for putting in a new accommodation complex at the Marion Hotel is to cater for exactly what is happening at Tonsley, what is happening at and Flinders University and what is going to happen in the coming years, which is fantastic.

The upgrade at the university village will include high-tech research facilities, cafes, shops and entertainment, as well as an expanded residential offering for students. We know how important international students are to the South Australian economy; it is one of our biggest exports. I know that the Minister for Education, the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment and the whole of government are pursuing this and want to see growth in international students for what they can bring to South Australia in terms of their skills and inclusiveness but, more importantly, to make a contribution to our society.

The university village will merge university life with the wider community, creating a mixed-used precinct for students, educators, visitors, service providers and local residents. Flinders Village will commence with the development of a world-class health research facility, as well as teaching simulation and clinical research spaces. Amongst other things, it will deliver commercial and office spaces, community gardens, research commercialisation incubators, health commercialisation and start-ups, and health and wellness clinics and consulting suites.

The campus will be the biggest integrated health and education precinct in South Australia and will include transitional health accommodation, a hotel, student accommodation and a range of private developments and retail facilities. This long-term plan for development will create many opportunities for students and the broader community, and the benefits will be numerous, including driving a competitive and dynamic economy for South Australia, which is so important. We have had good news today in terms of employment statistics in South Australia.

Ultimately, it is about jobs and the future, training the next generation of jobseekers and apprentices in South Australia; attracting more students to our great state and supporting real-world research that improves the lives of our community. The Flinders Village will reinforce the importance of universities to the economy and to the fabric of our society. For Flinders University, I believe that this is a really exciting future and a really exciting project, and I look forward to working with the state government over the coming years to see it come to fruition.

Universities transform people's lives through education and through the wider impact of their research. Education gives us knowledge of the world around us, and a university education is more than the next level in the learning process: it is a critical component in our human development. A university education provides not only high-level skills but also training that is essential. and they are anchor institutions in our community. I look forward to seeing Flinders University go from strength to strength.

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