Page 3842 - Week 12 - Thursday, 30 October 2014

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Canberra Institute of Technology Amendment Bill 2014

Ms Burch, pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MS BURCH (Brindabella—Minister for Education and Training, Minister for Disability, Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Minister for Racing and Gaming, Minister for Women and Minister for the Arts) (11.08): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

I present to the Assembly the Canberra Institute of Technology Amendment Bill 2014. Skills education is a vitally important part of the education landscape in the ACT. It is through skills and vocational education that we in Canberra have the hot water for our showers, that our cars work, that we can get our morning coffee and that we can be assured that our very homes and places of work are built to the highest of standards. Simply, skills education is central to the continued economic and social prosperity of our community.

The Canberra Institute of Technology has for many decades been central to ensuring that Canberra has the skills it needs to thrive. CIT plays, and will continue to play for years to come, a critical role in the future of vocational education and training in the ACT, as both our public provider and our largest registered training organisation.

The vocational education and training landscape is shifting. As a result it is both an exciting and challenging time. There is a tremendous amount of activity and change occurring with a range of national and jurisdictional developments taking place. One of our biggest challenges is raising the profile of vocational education and training and ensuring its benefits are understood right across our community. It is vital that we have a strong public provider as well as a vibrant private market competing to deliver government-funded training.

In order to achieve the best possible outcomes for the territory the ACT government has been carefully shaping its thinking around aspects of skills reform, including contestability in the vocational education and training market. We are in the fortunate position of being able to look at the reforms undertaken in other jurisdictions to inform the way that contestability might work best in the ACT.

Many of the changes underway in other jurisdictions have not been kind to the TAFE sector. The ACT’s implementation plan for the national partnership agreement on skills reform was explicit in its commitment to support CIT to continue to thrive in a more competitive market. As part of this commitment, the ACT pledged to develop and implement revised governance arrangements for CIT. The focus is to give CIT a more business orientated governance structure, allowing CIT to be more flexible, responsive and competitive in a more student-centred market.

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