Page 1098 - Week 04 - Wednesday, 25 March 2015
Moving down the remainder of the points in Ms Porter’s motion, one can only suggest they are little more than PR spin. The proposal that the ACT government has a strong commitment to CIT is clearly aspirational at best. The Labor government tried by several methods to get CIT abolished. It had one review after another, perhaps with the intention of creating such instability within CIT that it folded into the University of Canberra.
We know that CIT has and had financial problems. We know it had and has serious staff morale problems. A merger might have resolved many of those issues. If this government had taken up, in 2011, the suggestion of more autonomy rather than pursuing the abolition line, many of those ongoing problems CIT is facing now might have been addressed then.
The recent establishment of a board structure does signal a new opportunity for CIT to get the fundamentals right. There is no question about the unique and critical role CIT plays in delivering vocational training for thousands of young Canberrans. Growing our trades and delivering tradesmen to the workforce who have had the best vocational education is core to what CIT does. But we always have to ensure that our educational institutions are scanning their own environments regularly and honestly, that they are open and honest in addressing their shortcomings, to ensure that we have quality students coming out of a quality institution.
If this government is to genuinely deliver on the final clause in this motion—“to ensure that CIT remains a high quality and responsive training provider that meets the needs of its students, employers and the broader ACT community”—it has to be open and honest in addressing CIT’s problems. To date it has not been, and by avoiding them it is not doing anyone any favours.
CIT can be a leader in vocational training but it can only get there if it commits to genuine engagement with its staff and students and creates a learning environment that is supportive of staff and students, and open and honest in acknowledging and addressing any shortcomings.
MR BARR (Molonglo—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Minister for Urban Renewal and Minister for Tourism and Events) (11.35): I am pleased to rise in support of Ms Porter’s motion today and her comments on the importance of access to vocational education and training—and, of course, the flow-on benefits that this delivers for a skilled workforce in our city.
This motion is a continuation of a conversation that we have been having in this place this year about how essential it is that the ACT maintains a thriving higher education sector. I say a “conversation”, but perhaps that is not the best description because a conversation generally requires two engaged parties. Last week, and in fact this year, what we have seen is that those on one side of this conversation are prepared to lay down a long-term vision for education in this city—
Mr Doszpot interjecting—