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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 10 Hansard (Thursday, 18 October 2007) . . Page.. 3177 ..

appreciate if, in his reply to my speech, the Minister for Education and Training could explain why the ACT government believes seven industry representatives is an appropriate figure? Why not six, in order to ensure a better balance between industry, community and the institution?

MR BARR (Molonglo—Minister for Education and Training, Minister for Planning, Minister for Tourism, Sport and Recreation, Minister for Industrial Relations) (5.24), in reply: I thank the opposition for their support of this legislation. I think it is worth reflecting on why it is that we do need more industry representation on the CIT council. It is an important advisory council, and it is important that we are in a position to better match the supply of skilled labour and demands with the needs of industry. So I think it is important that we have that expanded capability on the advisory council.

I need to stress, in response to Dr Foskey’s assertions that this is not a body that would have formal votes or would in any way determine the final policy direction of the CIT, that it is an advisory body to me as the minister. I do not think any minister would set up such a body to be instantly divisive and to seek to pit interests of industry, say, against that of a student body or a teaching body. There still remains representation from staff and students on the advisory council. I am not sure whose grand conspiracy theory Dr Foskey is advancing with those comments and observations. They are, perhaps, unfortunate and miss the point of what the government is seeking to achieve through having a more diverse industry representation on this advisory council.

I would hope that there was never a vote and that, if there were conflicting views, the range of views would be presented to government. It is entirely appropriate, where there is a divergence of views in advisory groups, for that divergence to be presented to government. It occurs in many advisory councils. A unanimous position or consensus is not always achieved. Where it is not, then it is appropriate for an advisory committee to advise government that there is not a consensus view. I am afraid I do not see the dangers that Dr Foskey seems to in this amendment.

I believe that it will provide the right level of industry representation on the advisory committee and will provide an opportunity, as I say, to get input from a range of sectors and to ensure that the work of the CIT is particularly targeted at meeting particular skill shortages and particular needs in the local economy. I fundamentally fail to see the grand conspiracy that Dr Foskey is putting forward. Again, I thank the opposition for their support and look forward to the passage of the bill.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.

Leave granted to dispense with the detail stage.

Bill agreed to.

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