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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 04 Hansard (Wednesday, 25 March 2015) . . Page.. 1101 ..

Mr Doszpot interjecting—

MR ASSISTANT SPEAKER: Sit down, please, Chief Minister. Stop the clock. Mr Doszpot, you are warned.

Mr Doszpot: I apologise.

MR BARR: Thank you, Mr Assistant Speaker. This is one debate we are very happy to have—Labor’s vision for higher education and for TAFE in this city against what is proposed or not proposed by those opposite. We will look forward to having this debate every day through the remainder of this term of the Assembly because it is important to our city’s future.

I thank Ms Porter for bringing forward this motion today. It should be supported by all of those who support the value of education in our community. Thank you, Ms Porter, for raising it today.

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (11.46): I rise briefly to speak in support of Ms Porter’s motion today and to outline what I think are the substantial benefits of the CIT for the ACT. As I have said in support of similar motions and matters of public importance in recent times, the ACT Greens believe that high quality, free and equitable education is a cornerstone of a healthy democracy and is fundamental to our continued prosperity. We want to see a range of accessible education and training programs offering new opportunities to adults at all stages of their life, including those re-entering the workforce and adjusting to changed circumstances, and I believe that the CIT is vital to the delivery of that vision.

As I have also said as recently as yesterday, our higher and vocational education sectors are going through a period of some change and increasingly concerning uncertainty from the federal government. I think it is a credit to Minister Burch that the ACT government continues to work closely with CIT to respond to these challenges in a measured way and that we are not facing the horror shows that have plagued New South Wales and Victoria in the past few years. If we want to talk about the future of TAFE-style education I think we need to look to the situation we have seen play out in those two states for exactly where we do not want to be. I think that in recent times the ACT has measured up very well in comparison to those other jurisdictions that have done considerable damage to their TAFE sectors.

CIT offers both entry level and higher level qualifications and operates as both a business and a social entity in many ways. Between these two points it offers students well-respected, well-recognised education with high post-study employment rates and genuine workplace-related skills. As we know, there are growing concerns nationally about increasing unemployment. The ACT has been particularly hit in recent times in this respect and it is important that we consider CIT as a bastion of not just education but potentially of re-education as people seek to change direction in their life or find a new set of skills that will perhaps update or refresh their experience levels and provide them with a pathway to a new career opportunity.

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