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Tuesday, 22 June 2010
Page: 6131

Ms LIVERMORE (5:15 PM) —I am pleased to have the opportunity to speak on this matter of public importance placed on the Notice Paper by the member for Lyne. I realised, as I was closely reading the topic and listening to the member for Kennedy, that I had probably misunderstood a little bit the exact nature of the issue that he was talking about. I asked the Deputy Prime Minister in question time today about participation in higher education, which led me to thinking about it along that track. But I can see that the issue is actually much broader than that. Having said that, the government is well aware of the breadth of this issue and is working right across the education sector—in primary, secondary, VET and higher education—to deal with participation rates of students in regional and rural areas.

One of the great things, if we start with the primary and secondary area, that I am finding as I go around to inspect and open Building the Education Revolution projects around my electorate is just how they have transformed these schools and transformed the way the teachers see their role in their school and the scope they have for innovation, for taking initiative, for seeing the possibility of engaging with students in a whole new way. And the students are responding to these new facilities and to that new attitude of the teachers by really becoming much more engaged in education.

There is also a mood in my electorate very much due to the reforms that the government has foreshadowed in higher education funding and policy. Coupled at the same time with a new vice-chancellor at our local university, Central Queensland University, a much stronger relationship is starting to form between the university and our local schools. The university is looking to take on that leadership role and engage with schools in communities in my electorate to build the aspirations of students and to make university and higher education something that is real, something that they can touch and see in front of them. An example of that is the Glenmore educational precinct, which involves a number of both primary and secondary schools and our local Central Queensland University looking at how those institutions can work together to improve teacher quality, to improve professional development for teachers and, through that, to get better educational outcomes for the students—always with the university sitting in the background wanting to show those students that they can contemplate higher education at the end of their secondary schooling. The people involved in that, I know, will make a great success of that precinct concept. Again, the Building the Education Revolution facilities really do boost all of the efforts that are going on within those precinct activities.

The other thing that is happening, again involving the university, is a much stronger partnership with our local TAFE. The university is strongly seeking to formalise that partnership with our local TAFE. The university has also put up its hand to host the trades training centre up in Mackay, which, again, is a Rudd government initiative.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER (Hon. DGH Adams)—Order! The time allotted for this discussion has now expired.