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Wednesday, 8 May 1985
Page: 1556

Senator COOK(5.33) —I will be brief, like my colleagues, because there are still some people who wish to speak in this debate. I too congratulate Ted Heagney on his performance in the chair of the Australian Trade Union Training Authority and Jack Heffernan on his appointment to the role he will play. In speaking to this paper I think it is important that we note that there are few things in industrial relations on which the parties in Australia can agree. One of those few things is the need for TUTA. It is important to remember that whilst it was introduced by the Whitlam Government it was continued under the Fraser Government and is now, of course, continuing under this Government. Therefore, it enjoys important bipartisan support. Other speakers have indicated how it has improved its services and has constantly and increasingly been resorted to by trade unionists for educative purposes.

I mention quickly two statistics. There has been an increase from 5,500 student training days to 7,500 student training days over the last two years. Now, 20 per cent of participants in courses are women. Indeed, TUTA is gaining in international dimension because the International Labour Organisation women's education group resorted to TUTA for an Association of South East Asian Nations-South Pacific region course.

On all fronts TUTA is playing an important role, not the least part of which is its considerable interest in occupational health and safety. Over the last year 9 per cent of its activities were devoted to that very important area. As Senator Button pointed out in answer to a question during Question Time today, losses of production to Australian industry can be significantly reduced if we get a more safety conscious work force and see that accidents are prevented. TUTA is playing an important role on that front and in educating trade unions to participate in an informed manner in the occupational health debate in Australia. I commend the report to the Senate.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT —Order! The time allotted under sessional order for consideration of government papers has expired.