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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 4 Hansard (25 March) . . Page.. 1300..


MR STANHOPE (continuing):

They are the range of issues. I do hope we can work them through. I have engaged very closely with the taxi companies and the industry. I am seeking to work through each of the issues that the industry faces. NightLink is another that we are giving current attention to and there are similar issues there. It is difficult, but we will continue to work on it. I remain personally engaged and involved in seeking a resolution.

MR SPEAKER: Ms Bresnan, a supplementary question?

MS BRESNAN: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Has the government set a time frame for resolving the issue?

MR STANHOPE: No, I have not set a time frame. It is one of those issues where I can set a time frame but then what do I do or what do any of us do if a time frame—what is it that we say? "If this is not achieved by this date, then this will happen."We do not have that sort of fallback position. The government's position at the moment is a hope that we can negotiate our way through this.

To the extent that the government can impose a deadline on what is an issue of grave concern to the government and to the community, essentially it goes to the same sorts of issues that Mr Barr touched on before. A private pool operated by a private owner represents significant issues to a government in relation to the way in which it is managed. A taxi industry managed by private operators in a commercial environment presents real difficulties for a government in relation to its capacity to intervene in commercial decisions that are taken by all of that range of players that are involved.

These are difficult issues for the government. It is one of those issues of great interest. The role of the private sector in relation to the role of government essentially is "stay out of our way and let us get on with business"—until there is a little bit of an issue, and then everybody pleads for the government to embrace their particular issue and invest in it. We are seeking to find a resolution of these issues, but it is not easy.

Education—vocational and training

MR HANSON: My question is to the Minister for Education and Training. The latest statistics from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research showed that the ACT recorded a four per cent decline in training commencements for the quarter ending September 2008. The ACT was the only state or territory to record both a fall in the number of people starting an apprenticeship as well as a drop in the number of people continuing in training. Minister, why was this so?

MR BARR: One of the key factors, in fact, was an increase in the completion rate in that quarter. The NCVER figures did show an increase in completions. What that means is that more people completed training and, therefore, dropped out of the statistics as formally recognised by the NCVER. However, there are a number of other factors at play in that area. They largely relate, as I understand it, to private training providers and the number of apprentices and people engaged in training with private providers.


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