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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 04 Hansard (Wednesday, 25 March 2015) . . Page.. 1107 ..

I thank Ms Porter for bringing this motion forward and reiterate, as Ms Berry said, that university is not for everyone. University education, as valuable as it is, does not provide all employees with the skills they need. Ms Berry is not alone in not knowing what to do after school; I share this with her and have had the experience of leaving school and studying at a vocational training institution. I studied tourism and hospitality studies. I got work experience then as a 17-year-old in a large local hotel as a hotel receptionist. This volunteering experience subsequently led to part-time work and ultimately a full-time job. After a few years I went on to university but continued to work part time as a hotel receptionist throughout my studies. These more practical skills that I learned through this vocational training opportunity have set me up for life. I know many people in our community experience the same benefits of all our higher education institutions, including our vocational education institutions.

I thank Ms Porter for bringing forward this motion and encouraging the government to maintain its ongoing interest and investment in vocational skills and training through CIT. The current and future needs of the ACT economy will be even better served by a CIT better placed to deliver the quality vocational education and training needed by the ACT to provide the highly skilled workforce that our economy and our community need.

MS BURCH (Brindabella—Minister for Education and Training, Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Minister for Disability, Minister for Racing and Gaming and Minister for the Arts) (12.07): It is with great pleasure that I rise today to talk about the importance of TAFE. I want to thank Ms Porter for moving this motion today. I know that Ms Porter, as chair of the Assembly’s Standing Committee on Education, Training and Youth Affairs, is a very strong supporter of education in this city and of the CIT, the Canberra Institute of Technology.

Before I turn to the substance of the motion, I have to reply in some way to Mr Doszpot. I was disappointed that he used most of his time making negative comments about CIT. He says that he is a great supporter of CIT; yet his words were—I wrote them down; I will paraphrase—that it is a dysfunctional workplace. He said that there were teachers with no qualifications. He referred to this motion as being no more than PR spin and he said that CIT will get better only if it is open and honest. They are not the words of someone who has a high regard for the institution. They are the words of somebody who continues to want to wallow in negativity and to downplay an organisation.

Mr Doszpot made reference to the reviews of workplace matters. I will read from the Commissioner for Public Administration’s report Colleagues, not cases—managing people and resolving workplace issues. The executive summary on page 6—it is fairly easy for Mr Doszpot to get to—states:

The picture that has emerged from this review is not as bleak as some public commentary about CIT would suggest. CIT is not characterised by a culture of entrenched and systemic bullying. There have been a number of areas of concern in relation to a small number of individuals … Those concerns, however, should not be allowed to taint the whole organisation. CIT staff members, almost without exception, are professional, behave properly, and are dedicated to the advancement of their students and to the success of the Institute.

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