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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 9 Hansard (26 August) . . Page.. 3141 ..

MRS CROSS (continuing):

probably goes against standing orders, but I felt that it was important to explain that to the chamber because it did cause me some embarrassment.

Planning and Environment-Standing Committee

Report No 22

Motion (by Mrs Dunne , by leave) agreed to:

That Report No 22 of the Standing Committee on Planning and Environment-Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 National Conference of Public Works and Environment Committees-be authorised for publication.

Vocational Education and Training Bill 2003

Debate resumed from 3 April 2003, on motion by Ms Gallagher:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MRS BURKE (10.39): Mr Speaker, I will not take too long in talking to this bill. The bill revises and updates vocational education and training and higher education legislation. I am most pleased to see the months and months of hard work by many people finally bearing fruit. This bill has been a lot of hard work in the making and my congratulations go out to everyone on the great work on this bill. It is most encouraging to note the shifting landscape of education as it grows and develops. It certainly is not an easy machine to run-again, congratulations on managing that.

There must be credible and recognised alternatives for those not wishing to pursue a university education and also for those who have a need to upskill in a vocational area. In fact, many of our university graduates-about two-thirds, I think, currently-find themselves returning to the vocational sector to gain practical and vocational qualifications to marry with their more academic qualifications in order to secure good employment in the modern workplace.

I congratulate the minister on her work on this bill as it relates to contracts of training which cover the relationship between the employers and their apprentices or trainees. We have, and I suspect will continue to have, issues in relation to consistency of assessment which I hope that for many the new bills-the tertiary accreditation bill and this bill-will iron out and we will be able to work through those issues.

This bill is a critical step forward in the work towards achieving national consistency across the sector. It is high time that Australia worked across a lot of the areas that we deal in and got consistency. We are slowly seeing that happening through a positive drive by the Commonwealth.

I hope that we can now look forward to continued diversity and creativity within the VET sector. This bill allows for greater flexibility in introducing training to new and emerging industries. This bill moves towards covering vocational education and training as it is in 2003, not, as the minister rightly says, as it was in 1995. It has taken great leaps and bounds forward in the way that workplaces, the requirements of

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