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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 9 Hansard (26 August) . . Page.. 3143 ..

MR PRATT (10.45): Mr Speaker, I rise briefly to congratulate the government on having put together this instrument. It must be stressed that having alternative pathways for keen young professional students who do not necessarily seek a tertiary line is so important, and that is what this bill will do. Secondly, I would say that this bill is a very important tool for addressing disengaged students who feel that they are not connecting with the schooling system which currently exists. To that end, I would urge the government, in terms of a preliminary phase in high schools, to seek to boost subject areas which are technically oriented that would provide that early pathway for young disengaged kids who might then be seeking a VET career. I would urge the government to look at that and improve those sorts of capabilities.

MS GALLAGHER (Minister for Education, Youth and Family Services, Minister for Women and Minister for Industrial Relations) (10.46), in reply: Members will recall that the Tertiary Accreditation and Registration Bill 2003, which provided for revised and updated vocational education and training and higher education legislation, was debated in the Assembly last Thursday. The bill received unanimous support from the Assembly.

The Vocational Education and Training Bill 2003 is mainly what remains after the accreditation and registration sections were moved to the Tertiary Accreditation and Registration Act 2003. The bill gives effect to existing ministerial agreements for national consistency in regulating vocational education and training.

The Vocational Education and Training Bill 2003 replaces the 1995 legislation, which will be repealed, and reflects the removal of all accreditation and registration processes to the new Tertiary Accreditation and Registration Act. This bill contains model clauses developed through extensive consultation and agreed to by all states and territories. The bill provides cover for the relationship between an employer and their apprentice or trainee. That cover culminates in a nationally endorsed training agreement.

This bill covers the current context of vocational training, providing a much needed update to the 1995 act. It allows government to introduce training into new and emerging industries, whereas the current act restricts it to named trades. Members will note that the draft bill as presented in April included a reference to a commencement date of 1 July 2003, which has passed. That commencement date I now propose to be 1 November 2003, with consequential changes to other dates as a result of the four-month delay.

The Assembly's scrutiny of bills and subordinate legislation committee raised a question about the Vocational Education and Training Bill 2003. In this bill, two offences were listed as strict liability offences. The offences were associated with the training contract and the misuse of official name badges. The committee has been advised that, as the training contract is the trigger for Commonwealth and ACT incentive payments, it requires some additional regulatory force.

The bill recognises the changing environment for vocational education and training and provides for a flexible approach to training while promoting and supporting quality outcomes. I thank members for their comments and I also thank officers of the

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