Page 3006 - Week 09 - Wednesday, 12 October 2022

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MR STEEL (Murrumbidgee—Minister for Skills, Minister for Transport and City Services and Special Minister of State) (6.23): I welcome the opportunity to speak to the appropriation for the Chief Minister, Treasury and Economic Development Directorate, in my capacity as Minister for Skills and Special Minister of State. The 2022-23 budget continues to provide significant investment across the skills portfolio, as we build upon Skilled to Succeed, which is our skills and workforce agenda, released earlier this year.

Skilled to Succeed underlines the importance of a skilled workforce in strengthening our growing economy. We are delivering on it in four key priority areas: delivering skills inclusively to provide all Canberrans with a foundation for lifelong learning; building a more responsible, flexible and future-focused skills system; assisting employers to build, attract and retain the right workforce; and strengthening skills sector foundations. We will do this this year, as we expect to invest a record $126.3 million in vocational education and training in the ACT budget. This will be done through our public training provider, CIT, our User Choice and JobTrainer programs and a range of other initiatives that support a range of RTOs and Canberrans to connect with training.

Continued investment in skills is a priority for the ACT government. We also welcome investment in this space from the commonwealth, including working with the new commonwealth government on delivering a five-year national skills agreement and a fee-free TAFE training initiative, which will provide additional support for Canberrans seeking to gain skills in a range of sectors.

Investment in our public training provider remains a key priority for our government. It is something that we promised to do at the election. The ACT government is committed to providing at least 75 per cent of total skills funding to CIT to support high quality and inclusive training. We are continuing to work to deliver the CIT Woden campus in the budget, which will deliver high quality, world-class facilities for our public training provider as well.

We will continue to invest and promote vocational education and training through the budget and future budgets because we believe in investing in the future for all Canberrans. This is a great pathway into jobs and we have many areas of our economy at the moment that are in need of that workforce. There was a suggestion from Ms Castley that we have not done things for business in this budget. We have been investing in skills, the workforce that is driving businesses forward in the territory, and the registered training organisations and our public provider that are supporting them—significant investment.

The government continues its important investment in community facilities across the territory as well. That includes $7.2 million for the ongoing refurbishment of community and government buildings to undertake important maintenance upgrade works across a number of buildings that house government agencies and community organisations. This range of works will include important roof repairs, lift replacements, electric upgrades, and heating and cooling system improvements.

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