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Monday, 24 February 2014
Page: 559


Mr WHITELEY (Braddon) (14:52): Madam Speaker, my question is to the Assistant Minister for Education. I refer the minister to this morning's report that shows one in five young people aged 15 to 24 in west and north-west Tasmania, my electorate, are without a job. Will the minister inform the House what the government is doing to help connect school students to a real job in electorates such as Braddon?

Ms LEY (FarrerAssistant Minister for Education) (14:52): It is a pleasure to take a question from the member for Braddon. Last Friday I was in Burnie and Devonport with the member for Braddon. We visited two chambers of commerce. It is indeed an appalling statistic that 20 per cent of young people in the north and north-west of Tasmania are without a job. It was clear to me that the job-destroying carbon tax and the job-destroying Tasmanian Labor government have left these young people without a meaningful pathway from school to work. The cost of doing business in this part of Tasmania is just too high. These jobs should exist—on the farm, in the factory, in forestry, in mining, in agriculture, in aquaculture—and they do not.

Last week I also held a roundtable with the states and territories to revisit and rewrite the national framework for vocational education in schools. This was created in 2001 by the previous coalition government. The previous Labor government had, I think, five ministers for skills, which shows its lack of commitment to trades training and vocational education. Labor spent a lot of time talking about higher education and tertiary education, but instinctively its approach was this: if you have not made it to university, you have not made it at all. Our approach is very much focused on the young people like those that I met in Tasmania with the member for Braddon and on a first-class pathway from school to work. Our approach will have industry at the table. We want to elevate the status of the trades. We understand the importance for every young person to find that pathway.

It is interesting that there are a lot of people doing vocational ed in schools but that only nine per cent of the 40 per cent are in a school based apprenticeship. That needs to increase. We need to have school leading to work. Our approach starts—

Ms Rishworth: Because you stopped it!

The SPEAKER: The member for Kingston is warned!

Ms LEY: with local schools talking to local industry about local skills shortages. We look forward to working with the members for Braddon, Bass and Lyons, to participating in our economic growth plan for Tasmania, and to jobs for young people—real jobs in the real economy.