Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 4 Hansard (22 April) . . Page.. 1142 ..
MR SMYTH (continuing):
service. With the growth of Dunlop, Kippax library is likely to be the heart of a growing catchment area. It is well placed to serve the people of western Belconnen. The Government will continue to support this excellent service.
MS TUCKER: Pursuant to standing order 246A, I wish to inform the Assembly that on 15 April 1999 the Standing Committee on Education resolved that the following statement be made on funding for the Canberra Institute of Technology:
Following concerns from a number of organisations about reductions in staff recommended in the "Review of the Learning Services Division and Related Functions at the Canberra Institute of Technology", the Oliphant report, which was conducted by Michael Oliphant and Vivien Carroll, the Standing Committee on Education decided to seek further information on a number of issues relating to the funding of the CIT.
On 11 December 1998 the committee invited the Minister for Education and departmental officials and the Australian Education Union to brief it on funding for the CIT. In particular, the committee wished to discuss with the Minister issues raised by the Australian Education Union in relation to the Oliphant report, the performance of the CIT and future public funding for the CIT. The Australian Education Union provided the committee with a copy of its analysis of published vocational education and training data, entitled "Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics" and "More Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics". On 15 February 1999 the Minister provided the committee with a detailed response to the issues raised in the Australian Education Union's analysis.
The Oliphant report is an internal management report. It noted that the benchmarking measures reveal that the CIT falls short of national standards in three main areas, namely: Its delivery costs are higher than in Victoria, and higher than the national average; its corporate and learning services support costs are higher than elsewhere in Australia; and its outputs are lower than in Victoria and lower than the national average.
The Oliphant report recommended that the role of the Learning Services Division be redefined to meet the needs of its clients and those of the institute as a whole, and that a structure in keeping with that role must be developed. It also recommended a program of staff reductions, amounting to savings of $1.4m or 25 positions, by the year 2001. The committee understands that the CIT intends to make these savings. The Minister advised the committee that the Oliphant report proposed efficiencies in non-teaching areas.
The Australian Education Union expressed serious concerns about interpreting best practice in terms of the delivery costs of training in Victoria. It pointed out that, while Victoria has the lowest costs, it has been advised that some TAFE institutions in that State are experiencing severe difficulties and could be facing closure. The committee was advised that at the time of the meeting, in December 1998, the Government had not made any decisions on the level of benchmarking.