Page 1778 - Week 06 - Wednesday, 4 May 2005

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It is worth noting, first of all, that we do not believe there will be any impact in terms of DA processing times and, secondly, the government, through the work it is now doing in planning system reform—and I will be making an announcement on that in the very near future—will put in place a system of development assessment, environmental impact assessment, territory plan variation processes and leasehold administration that actually means that our development assessment system and our planning system overall will be more modern, contemporary, easy to understand and easy to use and administer. That is an important piece of work which is well under way.

Mrs Dunne: In another three years time!

MR CORBELL: No, Mrs Dunne, it won’t take three years. You can quote me on that. The government’s process is one which is comprehensive. We are looking both at the long term and the short term in terms of managing the development assessment process.

Budget—vocational education and training

MRS DUNNE: My question is to the Minister for Education and Training. I refer to the section of budget paper No 2, which notes that the projected expenditure in 2005-06 for vocational training is $103.4 million and says:

Compared to the 2004-05 estimated outcome this represents a decrease of $2.1m.

Minister, despite all your rhetoric about $14 million of new money, why have you cut the overall spending on vocational education by $2.1 million, given that there is a shortage of skilled workers in Canberra?

MS GALLAGHER: The figure of $14.1 million is absolutely correct: we invested $8 million in the 2004-05 budget over four years to address skills shortages.

Mrs Dunne: You took three out.

MS GALLAGHER: Will Mrs Dunne just let me answer the question, Mr Speaker?

MR SPEAKER: Order, Mrs Dunne!

MS GALLAGHER: We invested a further $3 million over two years in the budget announced yesterday. Mrs Dunne will remember that, to meet the emerging pressures that we saw in 2004-05 and that we do not expect to continue in that we believe our peak huge increase in training commencements occurred last year, we invested $3.1 million in the second appropriation and we were very clear at that time that that was to address the numbers that we were experiencing in the 2004-05 budget. That money did not continue in the second appropriation and we have put in $3 million over the next two years, which is what we expect we need to deal with the uptake in training over the next two years. Because training is demand driven, because it relies on a person getting a job, going into an employment relationship and then making a decision to take up training, we cannot absolutely guarantee the total amount of funding that is required to meet that training. It is demand driven. We do our best guess. Our best guess is that we reached a peak last year of, I believe, around 6,700 in training. That was a huge increase.

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