Page 3462 - Week 11 - Wednesday, 21 September 2005

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We have augmented the training budget in 2004-05 by over $3 million, an increase of about 25 per cent of user choice funds expended in that year. This increase in activity was in the core business area of traditional trades, as well as through broadening the scope of new apprenticeships in many more occupations. From 2003 to 2005 the ACT has increased the range of qualifications available through user choice by more than 25 per cent, as well as increasing the numbers of people taking up new apprenticeships by 50 per cent. The ACT is doing well with vocational education and training and will continue to do well into the future.

This is an example of the successful outcomes that can be achieved when the commonwealth elects to consult constructively with the ACT rather than seeking to impose conditions from the hill. The minister for education has worked hard to achieve a good deal for ACT in a spirit of positive consultation and negotiation with the federal government. I can only hope that Minister Nelson’s colleagues might learn from the experience when considering policies relating to matters such as the new industrial relations laws, the number of houses at Pierces Creek and the number of members in this Assembly. Through good faith in negotiations we can achieve much in partnership with the federal government. However, this government’s flexibility of course only goes so far. When the Howard government elects to act only on ideology, the result is poor outcomes for the ACT and the whole of Australia. Thankfully on this occasion, thanks to the hard work of the minister for education, Katy Gallagher, the ACT will enjoy more funding for our vocational education and training system on fair terms.


MR SESELJA: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Minister for Planning. The Canberra Times of 16 September reported that architects and developers were choosing to work interstate or with the NCA to avoid the tortuous development application process in the ACT. A spokesman for the architects said that they were extraordinarily frustrated in their dealings with ACTPLA. He cited the example of Amaroo school, where ACTPLA said trees closer than 25 metres had to be removed but Environment ACT said they had to stay there, and that this had resulted in the approval process taking four to five times longer than it should. Minister, why did you assert that these claims are baseless, when clearly they are factual?

MR CORBELL: These sorts of claims have been made time and again for as long as I have been in the Assembly. It is an unfortunate element of the planning debate that the assertion is made that planning controls force businesses over the border. It is the same sort of claim you hear about industrial manslaughter: everyone is going to go over the border. It is the same sort of claim you hear for other industrial relations provisions: everyone is going to flee the city. Mr Speaker, just walk outside this building, count the number of tower cranes in the skyline of Canberra today and look at the level of development.

Mrs Dunne: Mr Speaker, I wish to raise a point of order. Under standing order 118, the minister cannot debate; he has to answer the question. We are not interested in how many tower cranes there are in Civic; the question being asked is about Amaroo school.

MR SPEAKER: It is about planning controls.

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