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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 12 Hansard (23 November) . . Page.. 3907..


MRS DUNNE (continuing):

There is one other change. I am unsure whether it is a substantial change. The time frame in which the Building and Construction Industry Training Levy Board is required to bring forward its training program for the following calendar year has moved from 30 June in the previous calendar year to 31 October. This may be a reasonable change. I have not had anyone question this, but I note a word of caution that with the roll-out of the following year's training program not necessarily available until 30 October that may cause problems of compliance. If it does, I will be quite happy to come back and revisit that.

My consultations with members of the building industry are that they are happy with this, that they have been consulted with by the government, and that it reflects the needs and desires of the building industry. Therefore, the opposition is prepared to support this essentially machinery piece of legislation.

DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (5.50): It is fascinating how matters of concern can be swept under the carpet year after year when it does not suit the agenda of governments or media and then, at the drop of a hat, they can become crucial to our economic development. The federal government ran a strong industry-based training agenda in the early 1990s, but after John Howard's election as Prime Minister in 1996 that commitment was abandoned. Now a skills crisis has emerged dramatically as a problem that needs government attention. I think it is fair to say that Australian industry, particularly in the context of changing structures of work, have not contributed a lot to training over the past 15 to 20 years, except where and when it has been required of them by government or their organised work force.

All this is a roundabout way of saying that the ACT Greens recognise the value of industry-based training and continue to support the building and construction industry training fund as an appropriate local approach. It works with the CIT, business training groups and ACT government agencies and has as stakeholders all major relevant business associations in the ACT. This bill simply plugs a loophole which presently allows project owners to avoid paying the training levy that was intended to apply to building and construction operations. It also brings the act up to date on the practice of appointing valuers when there are disagreements, and changes dates and definitions to allow the authority to operate more effectively.

MR BARR (Molonglo—Minister for Education and Training, Minister for Tourism, Sport and Recreation and Minister for Industrial Relations) (5.52), in reply: I again thank members for their support. Mrs Dunne raised one issue. I am happy to be able to provide some information to the Assembly in relation to the change of date from 30 June to the end of October. I advise Mrs Dunne that this will enable a better alignment with the timing of the annual territory negotiations with the commonwealth regarding vocational and technical education funding. It will also enable the determination between the ACT government and the local industry for training priorities for the following year. I commend the bill to the Assembly.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.


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