Page 1105 - Week 04 - Wednesday, 25 March 2015

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These are the first people to whom parents entrust the care of their children. They are responsible for helping children to learn to play with others, to interact in new environments and to set them up on the path to learning that will last them for the rest of their lives. Much of the same impact can be attributed to youth workers, aged and personal carers and disability support workers, many of whom are educated by TAFE institutions like CIT.

It is clear to see the impact of institutions like CIT on our community, our families and individuals beyond the evident focus of jobs and the economy. Canberra’s public education system is one of the best supported and best performing in the country. It consistently delivers high quality courses and outcomes for its students, and I join with my colleagues to support all aspects of our public education system, and especially with today’s motion for CIT, its students and its staff. Supporting public education at all levels is how you grow a stronger, more inclusive community. When people learn together, they get to better understand each other’s aspirations and the kind of life they would like to live.

We understand that the best way for people in our community to feel included is to have meaningful work, whether that is a new career, the training for a better paying or more interesting job, the chance to study a new language or build skills for when they return to the workforce from some time out for caring or recovering from health issues. This government has a proud record of proactive policies to support vocational education and that treat it for what it is—the equal partner with university education—and for valuing it for the role it plays in giving Canberrans better lives. We are a government that will always work to ensure Canberrans continue to have access to high quality, affordable education through public TAFE to deliver for the needs of students, employers and the broader ACT community alike.

Our government support CIT because we are focused on the long-term benefits education and training deliver to help grow our economy and create jobs—in particular, knowledge-based jobs. This is especially important when considering the efforts of the commonwealth government to deregulate the university system as well as their funding and public service job cuts, the impacts of which are felt much harder here in the ACT than anywhere else in Australia. I am proud to be part of a government who are committed to supporting public education. CIT plays an important role in our community, and we recommit our support to the CIT and public education in the ACT. I thank Ms Porter for bringing the motion to the chamber today.

MS FITZHARRIS (Molonglo) (12.02): There is no question that vocational education and training adds significant value to the ACT economy, the ACT community, the public and private sector and individuals. There is no question that the Canberra Institute of Technology—CIT—has played and will continue to play a central role in its delivery. The CIT offers around 400 nationally recognised courses that offer practical experience that allow nearly 23,000 students who attend each year to graduate with invaluable industry skills and enterprise connections. CIT is spread across six locations in Canberra, including the CIT Gungahlin learning centre site co-located and sharing facilities with Gungahlin College and the public library.

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