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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 9 Hansard (26 August) . . Page.. 3142 ..

MRS BURKE (continuing):

training and the way that we educate people to enter the work force are viewed. This bill is a more modern reflection of those moves and trends.

It is most positive and encouraging to see all the states and territories working together with the Commonwealth for very good and positive outcomes. National consistency, as I have already said, is a very important area. It is most important that when we speak of a full portability of skills each state and territory has the legislation in place to ensure that we are consistent in our approach. Both bills therefore will give effect to ministerial agreements for national consistency in VET and higher education. Mr Speaker, the Liberal opposition will be supporting this bill.

MS DUNDAS (10.42): Mr Speaker, I am happy to support the establishment of a uniform national framework for the regulation of vocational education providers and I am glad that the ACT is implementing this national process, which commenced in 2000.

I am particularly supportive of the requirement for an indigenous representative to be a member of the Vocational Education and Training Authority. Senator Aden Ridgeway, my Democrat colleague, has pointed out in relation to education that the comparative disadvantage of indigenous people is now beyond dispute. He adds that education and vocational training are perhaps among the most important issues to confront indigenous people and indigenous communities, particularly in terms of being able to access and take advantage of opportunities, but most of all in terms of being able to break the cycle of welfare dependency and endemic poverty that exists in many communities. The requirement for an indigenous representative on the authority goes a small but necessary way to ensuring that this comparative disadvantage is redressed.

I also commend the measures to create a standard agreement between apprentices or trainees and their employers. Standard agreements are the only equitable method of ensuring pay parity and working conditions. Likewise, standard agreements between apprentices or trainees and their employers are necessary to ensure that members of this group, one of the most underrepresented groups in society, have the protection and confidence they need when entering into a apprenticeship or a traineeship.

The Democrats have supported this legislation at the federal level and I am happy to join with them in supporting it in the ACT.

MS MacDONALD (10.44): Mr Speaker, I rise to speak briefly. I had not intended to but, I realised that it would be remiss of me not to stand and talk briefly in support of this bill and to applaud the tertiary accreditation bill which was passed last week.

As many people in this place know, I did work within vocational education and training for two years in a paid capacity. Prior to that, I had an association with it for five years through my job within the union movement. I know that a number of my friends within the vocational education and training sectors welcome both this bill and the tertiary accreditation bill which went through last week. It has been a long time coming and I know that they will be happy to see this bill put in place in a formal structure something which is already, to a large extent, operating in a practical structure. I commend the bill.

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