Page 3594 - Week 10 - Tuesday, 26 August 2008

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The committee did hear from industry and stakeholders about the importance of that recognition, especially from state to state, and how it is difficult to get people to come across from different areas to the ACT to work and have their prior skills recognised. I remember, particularly in the area of the security industry, where I worked, whilst I had commonwealth recognition for security operations, it was not recognised and still is not recognised in the ACT. We do need to work hard, I think, on those areas of recognition of prior learning.

The other thing I would like to touch on is a visit the committee had to Queensland. Whilst we were there for other purposes, we were able to discuss this particular inquiry with the Queensland Health and Community Services Workforce Council. They had some very good success stories in regard to retaining staff and being able to acquire new staff in the aged care sector.

We spoke with Ms Carolyn Ovens, a senior project officer, skills formation, strategies and communities, VET partnerships, Health and Community Services Council; Ms Tracey Worrall; Ms Alisa Hall from Blue Care; and Ms Jane Clarke from St Andrew’s War Memorial Hospital. They were able to tell us that in Queensland they had started on a path and were only about 12 months into this program of playing a role in trying to get new staff for the aged care sector. I had a conversation with our committee secretary, Sandra Lilburn, earlier just to remind me of the details.

What they did was provide a better career path for those in the aged care sector by allowing them to do ongoing studies whilst working in the sector and, when those studies were recognised with certificates, they were then commensurately recognised with a salary increase as well. So there was an opportunity there for people to study a bit more, get some more skills, have those recognised and then recognised with salary increases. It was very successful.

Only 12 months into the program, there was a much better staffing operation in the area. In fact, they indicated that it could only grow from there. There were some definite things we could learn from that visit. The career paths were there, as I said, with corresponding income. There were more staff and it was also a happier work place. People found that their skills were recognised and they had further career choices after that. So it was an eye opener, I think, for the committee and something that the government could look at here.

MR PRATT (Brindabella) (12.18): I commend this report to the house. I would like to say just a few words on this. I only came in toward the end of this inquiry. My colleague Mrs Dunne had been on that committee and with that inquiry for a good duration of its time frame. I came in at the end but I had a pretty good idea what was undertaken. Mrs Dunne told me quite a bit about what had previously occurred.

I am very pleased that the committee had taken on this task, to look at skills training. I think it is important to note that this inquiry was undertaken against the background of what has been a national trend, which I think has been detrimental to education in this country. The trend that I am talking about is what seems to have been the drive across Australia and in most jurisdictions, not only in the ACT, to move all children into tertiary education. That was a trend that commenced, I think, pretty much in the

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