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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 5 Hansard (5 May) . . Page.. 1405 ..

Bill agreed to in principle.

Detail Stage

Clauses 1 and 2, by leave, taken together, and agreed to.

Clause 3

MR STEFANIAK (Minister for Education) (5.21): Mr Speaker, having spoken to Mr Berry, I think we can probably speed this up a little bit. Fundamentally, there are a number of amendments which relate to the Vocational Education and Training Authority becoming the body that regulates this. He would prefer, of course, his amendments in relation to that. I understand he does not have a problem with some of my other amendments later as they just assist the operation of the Bill. The only other amendment he has which is different from what we are proposing relates to the limit, Mr Berry's amendment No. 6 and my last amendment. I do not know whether that helps but there seem to be two areas of contention. The other amendments are not.

Most of the amendments which I am moving relate to inserting the Vocational Education and Training Authority as the appropriate body. The Government has a number of problems with what Mr Berry is proposing. Whilst I note he has improved it by including two extra people - I assume that is to enable the HIA as well as the MBA to go on - we have a problem with supporting the creation of yet another statutory body when quite clearly it is not necessary.

We would like the administration of this to be the responsibility of the most appropriate body in the area, and that is the Vocational Education and Training Authority. The board of that body is an entirely credible body. It comprises members of the ACT business community, union representatives, training providers and community representatives, including parent associations. It is also at arm's length, which is terribly important here because, even with the better amendments Mr Berry is now proposing, you still have people who are very much involved, and I think there are some significant conflict of interest situations that could be a problem here.

The better body would be the Vocational Education and Training Authority Board. It is the Government's main advisory body on training matters. It would make sense for it also to advise the Minister on matters to do with the fund.

Mr Speaker, just to give you an example, its current representation shows a good mix between union and employers. It has some experienced people in this field. It is chaired by Mr Laurie O'Donnell. He has been the chair for some four or five years. Jeremy Pyner, secretary of the TLC, is an employee representative, as is Fiona MacGregor from the AEU. It has Christopher Peters, chief executive of the ACT and Region Chamber of Commerce; Paul Rayner, director, Employment and Remuneration Branch, Chief Minister's Department; Peter Veenker, chief executive, Canberra Institute of Technology; John Gleeson, director, Priority Management, a private training provider; Bruce Duke, a community representative; Bob Taylor, chair of the

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