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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 05 Hansard (Thursday, 13 May 2021) . . Page.. 1460 ..

Canberra Institute of Technology—board membership

MR DAVIS: My question is to the Minister for Skills and it relates to the AEU at CIT. Minister, the parliamentary and governing agreement requires the government to include a member from the Australian Education Union on the CIT board. Given the valuable insights that the union provides, when can the community expect a member of the AEU to be represented on the CIT board?

MR STEEL: I thank Mr Davis for his question. Yes, I certainly acknowledge that it was a Greens election commitment to have an AEU member on the board. I welcome the interest by Mr Davis in the good governance of the CIT, which the ACT government is committed to, as well as to making sure that we have a board that can provide really strong links to industry to support the skilling-up of Canberrans and also during a time when there is quite significant reform occurring in the skills sector nationally.

Under the Canberra Institute of Technology Act 1987, the board must have at least seven members but not more than 11. One of those is a CIT staff member, so we already have an elected position for a staff member. An AEU representative is welcome to apply for that position. In fact, an election has just occurred, over the last month, for that position, duly in accordance with the regulations for the election of that position representing staff members. There is also a CIT student member.

A review was conducted into the governance of the CIT by Derwent Executive in 2017, which actually recommended the removal of the government, student and staff representative positions, but we did not accept that. While the government member was removed, we wanted to make sure that there were student and staff representative positions retained on the board. That is the position that we have taken.

There are also general positions on the board. In fact, we have been advertising to fill those positions over the last few months. AEU members are welcome to apply for those positions. I should note, as well, though, that in terms of staff union representation, the AEU is just one union that represents staff of the CIT. The CPSU, the Community and Public Sector Union, is also a representative of staff there, and we engage with both the AEU and the CPSU in terms of ongoing operations and strategic directions.

MR DAVIS: I have a supplementary question. Minister, in addition to the one staff member position you have mentioned, will the government consider reserving one of the 11 positions specifically for a representative from the AEU?

MR STEEL: At this stage we have no plans to do that given that we have a staff member that is already elected to the board. We may make appointments from time to time in relation to vacancies that come up on the board. The government will make that decision over the coming months, as a result of having advertised for positions that are vacant. We will fill those and that will be based on a merit based selection process. We will continue, though, to engage directly with the AEU as part of the CIT

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