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Information kit at the cutting edge

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PEE92/88GR 23 September 1992


'The Cutting Edge information kit will play a very valuable role in preparing the way for language, literacy and numeracy training in the timber industry,' Minister for Resources Alan Griffiths and the Federal Member for Eden-Monaro Jim Snow said today.

Mr Griffiths was speaking from Bombala where he is currently undertaking a tour of Jim Snow's Eden-Monaro electorate and launching The Cutting Edge.

The Cutting Edge, designed to raise awareness of the need for basic skills training throughout the timber industry, was funded under the Department of Industrial Relations' Migrant Workers' Participation Scheme.

It is a significant element of the Basic Education for Skills Training (BEST) project being run throughout the NSW timber industry workplaces by the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (NSW) with employer support.

BEST aims to develop a language, literacy and numeracy program in the timber industry, which will be the basis for future skills training.

'The timber industry is facing increasing challenges,' Minister Griffiths said.

'It has to make the most of scarce resources. It has to cope with new technologies and new work practices. It has to move from basic processing of raw materials to the production of more complex, value-added products.

'However, the Union has estimated that about 50 per cent of workers in the industry have problems with reading and writing.'

In endorsing Minister Griffiths' comments, Senator Peter Cook, the Minister for Industrial Relations said, 'In a situation like this, employers lose out and workers lose out. Poor communication skills have major implications for productivity, occupational health and safety, access to training and quality of working life generally.

'The Industry cannot meet these challenges unless it is able to use the skills and potential of the entire workforce. This is recognised by all stakeholders. Employers and unions have all registered their support for the introduction of workplace literacy and numeracy programs.

'The kit - and the whole BEST Program - provide a model for other industries. I look forward to seeing similar initiatives undertaken in other industries.

For further information please contact:

Office of the Minister for Resources Kristen Barry (06) 277 7480 Office of the Minister for Industrial Relations Don Mackay (06) 277 7320