Page 3161 - Week 07 - Thursday, 30 June 2011

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This lack of recurrent expenditure, along with the risks that are apparent in the new commonwealth national partnership arrangements, are a risk to CIT’s ability to meet the changing skills needs of the ACT’s economy. The government needs to keep a careful eye on the impact that increased contestability will have on the CIT and the rapidly changing national landscape.

In evidence to the estimates committee it was said that this presented both opportunities and challenges. At present, CIT provides a critical benchmark for quality in vocational education in the ACT and still maintains nationally high levels of student and industry satisfaction. However, I am told constantly by CIT teachers that this is being sustained on goodwill and overwork.

It has been suggested to me that Minister Barr needs to listen to the teachers and that if he did, he would hear how staff are finding the environment increasingly difficult. It is similarly important that Minister Barr understand and hear the concerns before he goes to the upcoming national partnership discussions. The Greens ask the minister to be a champion for the CIT. It is important. The educational asset that the CIT provides to the ACT is very important. It is important that it survives the new environment and thrives into the future.

Closer ties and amalgamation of CIT and the University of Canberra was covered in the hearing. The minister said that Professor Bradley had been engaged to look at possible governance arrangements if a marriage or some sort of civil partnership, as it was coined, was to occur.

The estimates committee recommended that the government table the Bradley review in the Assembly. The government response to this recommendation was very short. It simply said “noted”. I am not sure whether that means, yes, the government will table it or, no, it will not. I would hope that in the new era of government transparency the report will be made available to the Assembly.

MR BARR (Molonglo—Deputy Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Minister for Education and Training and Minister for Tourism, Sport and Recreation) (1.48 am): The Bradley report will, of course, be made public. In fact, I would anticipate making it public well in advance of when the Assembly next sits. So the question of tabling it in this place will become a bit moot because it will already be publicly available.

As I indicated in my closing comments in relation to the education and training budget line, this is the most significant issue that we face. A decision will need to be made. You cannot just put your head in the sand and say that things can carry on as they are now. That simply will not suffice. The sorts of pressures that Ms Hunter alluded to in relation to contestability of funding will become even more apparent. It will not just be competition from the private sector. It will be from other publicly owned TAFE institutes from outside of the ACT seeking to offer training courses in this marketplace.

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