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Tuesday, 28 October 2014
Page: 12257

Vocational Education and Training


Mr TEHAN (Wannon) (14:56): My question is to the Assistant Minister for Education. How will the government ensure effective skills and trade training for students in Australia? Why is a consistent approach to training important?


Ms LEY (FarrerAssistant Minister for Education) (14:57): It is a pleasure to take a question from the outstanding member for Wannon, a fine rural representative for western Victoria. The coalition believe that choosing a career in the trades is a smart choice. We are working to prepare our kids for real jobs in the real economy. We have got plans to skill our students for jobs for the future. It was interesting that the member asked about consistency. It was a bit of a trip down memory lane when I saw at the weekend that Mr Andrews, the Victorian Labor leader, announced a policy for tech schools saying, 'The old model will be reformed.' Apart from the fact that we know that Labor does not have new ideas, the old model that Victoria Labor speaks of was actually dismantled under the Cain and Kirner governments. In fact, a tech school in the member's own electorate in Portland was dismantled in 1991. It was Victorian Labor that got rid of tech schools and, in fact, it was a Victorian Labor minister who said they do not add anything; they provide no advantage. It was federal Labor who abandoned our Australian technical colleges, a dedicated school for skills and training—

Ms Ryan interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Lalor may not interject, she is not in her seat.

Ms LEY: It was federal Labor that established the debacle that was the trade training centres—$2.5 billion. There was going to be 2,650 of these. There was going to be one in every school. But it was never about the students; it was only ever about the buildings. With Labor, it is never about the job—

Mr Thistlethwaite interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Kingsford Smith will desist!

Ms LEY: it is only about the process. We know that Labor cannot be trusted when it comes to skills, trades and training. They will always say one thing and do another, because deep in their DNA is the belief that the trades and training are the B team and university is the A team—a failure to recognise that 60 per cent of students do not, nor should they, go to university. We are working with the Victorian government to deliver—

Ms Rishworth interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Kingston will desist.

Ms LEY: an innovative P-Tech style model, which develops high-tech, high-skilled training for the jobs of the future, not an old Labor model—

Dr Chalmers interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Rankin will leave under 94(a).

The member for Rankin then left the chamber.

Ms LEY: from the past. New jobs, new skills, science technology, engineering and maths.

With a coalition government in Canberra and a coalition government in Spring Street, people can be confident that we are looking after the most important pathway of all: the pathway from school to a job.