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Launch of the Transport and Logistics Industry Skills Council's Aviation Training Package: speech, Canberra\n

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Parliament House, Canberra 17 June 2008

As prepared for delivery...


• Paul House - representing the Ngunnawal people • Air Commodore Ian Smith (representing the Chief of Defence Force - Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston) • Mr Robert Adams, Chairman, TNT Australia

I’m sure all you are all familiar with the Wright brothers, who are widely

credited with flying the first motorised plane.

Around the time of taking his first flight, Wilbur Wright is quoted as saying:

There are two ways of learning to ride a fractious horse.

One is to get on him and learn by actual practice. The other is to

sit on a fence and watch the beast a while, and then retire to the

house to figure out the best way of overcoming his jumps and


The latter system is the safer. But the former, on the whole,

turns out better riders. It is very much the same thing in

learning to ride a flying machine.

As people involved in Australia’s aviation industry, you are far better

placed than I am to pass judgement on Wright’s advice to budding


I will, however, offer one observation.

Getting on the horse is one thing, but understanding when it will kick, why it

will kick, and how to get out of its way when it does is equally important.

This can only be achieved through extensive education and training, which

requires a consistent and coherent framework that sets out national

competencies and qualifications for the aviation industry.

This new aviation training package, which I’m proud to launch today, is an

important resource for trainers, potential entrants to the industry, and people

already involved in the sector.

This training package is a key resource for registered training organisations to

deliver training, assess competencies and issue nationally recognised


There are a number of aspects of this package worth special mention.

Firstly, it represents for the first time the two regulators of Australia’s aviation

industry - CASA and Defence - have agreed on standards and requirements

for aviation qualifications.

This means aviation workers can move more freely between civilian and

defence workforces.

At the heart of this achievement has been some good cooperation between

CASA and Defence.

Secondly, the package cuts through a myriad of state qualifications, and

provides nationally consistent qualifications.

This makes it easier for people considering a career in aviation to compare

training costs at different institutions.

Thirdly, and finally, the Aviation Training Package will make it easier for

overseas students to train in Australia, which will only enhance our reputation

as a world leader when it comes to aviation training.

One of the most important aspects of this training package from my

perspective is that it brings together two of this Government’s main priorities:

• an education revolution, and

• the development of Australia’s first national aviation policy.

Education revolution

The Rudd Labor Government wants Australia to be the best educated country,

the most skilled economy and the best trained workforce in the world.

That is why we have embarked on an education revolution, with a renewed

focus on investing in our institutions, and getting better outcomes for students

from pre-school, all the way through to university.

A centrepiece of this is a $1.9 billion investment over five years to fund up to

630,000 new training places.

I’m pleased to say this $1.9 billion program, which was announced in the

2008-09 Budget includes a stronger role for Industry Skills Councils.

It will help the Council provide stronger training support for Australia’s

transport sectors, including the aviation industry.

Aviation White Paper

You may also be aware that in April this year, the Rudd Government took the

historic step of developing a long-term plan for the future of Australia’s

aviation industry.

This national Aviation Policy Statement, or White Paper, will guide the

industry’s growth over the next decade and beyond.

Development of the White Paper began in April, with stakeholders being

invited to make submissions on an Issues Paper which outlines challenges

facing the Australian aviation Industry.

The next step in the process is the release of a Green Paper in September

outlining possible policy directions, settings and reforms providing yet another

opportunity for public input.

The process will be finalised in mid 2009 with the release of a White Paper

which for the first time will bring together all aspects of national aviation policy

into a single statement.

One of the key issues for the Aviation White Paper is addressing the skills

needs in the aviation industry.

There have been numerous reports over the last 12 months about difficulties

in recruiting pilots for regional airline services on some routes.

Regional airlines are also feeling the flow-on effects from a pilot shortage.

Skills shortages in the aviation sector not only affect services to regional


It also impacts on emergency service operations, like the Royal Flying Doctor

Service and search and rescue operators.

Whilst this is often considered to be ‘the small end of the industry’, as the

Minister for Regional Development, I am fully aware of the impact it has on

people living in regional and remote Australia.

This critical issue underscores the importance of the National Aviation Policy


The work already done by the Transport and Logistics Industry Skills Council

in this area, and also their unique position as an intermediary between

Government and industry, means they will have a vital role in shaping future

government policy and priorities to help meet the long term training needs of

this industry.

I look forward to the Council’s input as we continue down this important path.


Australians will be forever indebted to the likes of Wilbur Wright, whose efforts

have helped us overcome the tyranny of distance.

We’ve come along way since those early days of flight.

Our aviation industry has grown to a point where it supports nearly 50,000

jobs nationwide, and underpins our nation’s continued economic growth.

Australia now has a Government with the vision and commitment to overcome

the tyranny of short term political opportunism.

The development of a national strategy for aviation is evidence of this.

We are developing a strategy which looks to the long term and closely links

the development of aviation to the economic development of the nation.

The Government has already begun an education revolution because we

know that skills are a core element in economic capacity and future prosperity.

We are committed to a strong, vibrant and well-skilled Australian aviation


One with certainty and incentives to invest for the future.

The aviation training package is part of this commitment.

It is a key resource for people already in, or planning to enter Australia’s

aviation industry.

I congratulate the Council on the work you have done to bring together

industry, to ensure the Aviation Training Package meets industry needs.

It gives me great pleasure to officially launch the Transport and Logistics

Industry Skills Council’s Aviation and Training Package.



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