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Thursday, 24 March 2011
Page: 3174

Mr GARRETT (Minister for School Education, Early Childhood and Youth) (12:13 PM) —in reply—I will make some concluding remarks on the National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Bill 2010 and related bills. In doing so, I will table the addendum to the explanatory memorandum to the National Vocational Education and Training Regulator (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2011.

The Australian government has a strong commitment to improving the quality of vocational education and training. We recognise that skills are an absolutely crucial plank of productivity, and this government is committed to working together with stakeholders to ensure that students and employers have absolute confidence in the qualifications our system delivers. The fact is that vocational education and training will drive the sustainable economy of the future for small and large businesses right across the community.

The National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Bill 2010 and its supporting legislation will build on the current quality and consistency in the VET sector, and support the labour market and national productivity agendas by strengthening quality and confidence in the quality and consistency of assessment and training outcomes of VET qualifications.

The government has acknowledged the concerns that were raised by stakeholders and by members on the bills, and the government has committed to consult further with a view to introducing amending legislation in August. The government will also continue to work towards Western Australia and Victoria becoming part of the national system.

The fact is that as we stand here today there is strong support from all stakeholders for the establishment of a new national VET regulator. While the opposition has put forward many reasons to do nothing, the government believes that it is important to act now and to ensure that the momentum for change is not lost. Changes enacted by these bills represent a major reform in the approach to vocational education and training for the future, and I commend these bills to the House.

Question put:

That this bill be now read a second time.