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Wednesday, 9 October 1991
Page: 1634

(Question No. 1057)


Mr Mack asked the Minister for Employment, Education and Training, upon notice, on 9 September 1991:

(1) Has the Commonwealth fully or partly funded apprenticeship or trainee schemes in the building industry between 1987-88 and 1990-91 inclusive; if so, with respect to each scheme (a) what was its name, (b) what organisations administered it, (c) what sum did the Commonwealth contribute to it, (d) what proportion of its total funding was contributed by the Commonwealth, (e) how many apprentices or trainees benefited from it, (f) what guidelines or requirements did the Government impose on the bodies administering it, (g) what supervision did the Department of Employment, Education and Training apply, (h) were any breaches of guidelines or requirements detected and (i) what action did the Department take with respect to breaches involving the use of funds granted by the Commonwealth.

(2) Were any of the schemes referred to in part (1) investigated by the Department; if so, (a) which schemes, (b) who was responsible for their administration and (c) what was the result of the investigation in each case.

(3) Is he able to say whether funds contributed by the (a) Commonwealth, (b) NSW building industry employers or (c) NSW Building Services Corporation to any of the schemes referred to in part (1) have been (i) diverted into the general funds of any administering body, (ii) applied to the purchase of real property or (iii) used for any other purpose in breach of guidelines; if so, in each case (A) what were the circumstances, (B) what sum was involved, (C) what scheme was involved, (D) who was responsible for the administration of the (I) funds and (II) scheme and (E) how were the funds used.

(4) Is the Department taking any steps to investigate the administration in New South Wales of the schemes referred to in part (1).


Mr Dawkins —-The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) Yes

(a) New South Wales

Housing Industry Association Group Apprenticeship Ltd

Master Plumbers Apprentice Ltd

Building Apprentices Training Ltd

Victoria

Building Industry Group Training Scheme

Plumbing Industry Group Scheme (until 30 June 1990)

Queensland

Queensland Master Builders Group Scheme

Master Painters and Building Sub Contractors Ltd

Western Australia

Building Industry Group Training Scheme

Plumbing and Painting Training Company Inc

WA Group Training Scheme (from 1 January 1991)

South Australia

Building Industry Group Training Scheme Ltd

Tasmania

Building Group Apprenticeship Scheme Ltd

Australian Capital Territory

Master Builders' Construction and Housing Association Group Apprentice Scheme

Northern Territory

Construction Industry Skills Foundation Ltd

(b) All group schemes in receipt of Commonwealth financial assistance are required to be established as separately incorporated bodies and administered by independent Boards of Directors. Most schemes operate with a tripartite Management Committee which includes representatives from employer and union organisations and government.

Two of the group schemes referred to in Part (a), the Building Industry Group Training Schemes of Victoria and Western Australia, did not meet this requirement during the period, and were administered by the Boards of Directors of their parent companies.

If schemes do not operate in this manner, it is a requirement by Commonwealth and State/Territory Governments that the Board of Directors meetings be attended by a government representative, who must also be provided with agendas and minutes of Board and Management Committee meetings.

The Building Apprentices Training Limited (BATL) in NSW is not a group scheme but is administered in a similar manner. BATL is a non-profit training company, limited by guarantee, and administered by its Directors.

(c) Between 1987-88 and 1990-91 the Commonwealth Government provided $2,830,492 as contributions towards administrative and training costs to BATL and group schemes involved in the building industry throughout Australia, as follows:

$

HIA Group Scheme Apprenticeship Ltd 277,237

Master Plumbers Apprentice Ltd NSW 191,100

Building Apprentices Training Ltd 544,900

Building Industry Group Scheme Vic. 344,624

Plumbing Industry Group Scheme Vic. 130,236

Queensland Master Builders Assn GS 223,174

Master Painters and Builders Qld 167,075

Building Industry Group Scheme WA 136,175

Plumbing and Painting Training WA 130,250

Building Industry Group Scheme SA 218,079

Building Group Scheme Tas. 150,200

ACT Master Builders Group Scheme 203,492

Construction Industry Ltd GS NT 113,950

Group Schemes, as with other common law employers of indentured apprentices and trainees, were eligible for and received employer incentives under the Commonwealth Rebate for Apprentice Full-time training (CRAFT) and the Australian Traineeship System (ATS), at rates current for that period. This included rebates of training costs, available under CRAFT, for employers approved to provide off-the-job training courses.

(d) The Commonwealth provides 50 per cent of total government funding under the Commonwealth/State and Territory Policy on Financial Assistance to Group Schemes as a contribution towards the administrative costs of schemes.

The Commonwealth's contribution to BATL was approximately 50 per cent of its total government funding.

(e) Approximately 6,300 apprentices and trainees benefited from the Commonwealth contribution over the four year period.

(f) Guidelines for Commonwealth funding of group schemes are detailed in the government documents, `Guidelines for the Operation of Group Schemes' (1987-89) and `Group Training Schemes Policy and Guidelines' (1989-91).

The Commonwealth's guidelines for the Special Assistance Program apply in respect of BATL.

(g) The Department of Employment, Education and Training provides supervision through its membership of group scheme Management Committees.

Schemes also provide the Department with quarterly financial and statistical data which is used for monitoring purposes.

The Commonwealth monitors training arrangements through its membership of the BATL Management Committee.

(h) Yes, in relation to the requirement for group schemes to separately incorporate by June 1988.

(i) Commonwealth funding was withdrawn from two schemes listed in Part (a) for non-compliance with the requirement to incorporate. Both schemes eventually complied with the guidelines and funding resumed.

(2) No.

(3) (a) Group schemes are required to provide the Commonwealth with annual reports and independently audited financial statements of operations. No incidence of the use of Commonwealth funds, for purposes other than the reasons provided, have been evident in annual reports or audited financial statements.

(b) No.

(c) No.

(4) No action is currently underway to investigate the New South Wales schemes referred to in Part(1).