Page 1110 - Week 04 - Wednesday, 25 March 2015

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MS PORTER (Ginninderra) (12.17), in reply: I thank members for their contributions to the debate. I must say, however, that I am very disappointed in the shadow’s contribution, which was extremely negative. I do not think it added any value at all. To say that the chair of the Standing Committee on Education, Training and Youth Affairs, which is involved in an inquiry into skills training, cannot talk about VET and RTOs in her role as a member of the government is nonsense, especially as the shadow does not seem to adhere to his own advice, given the number of times he talks about CIT in this place, as he has today.

Dr Bourke gave us a very comprehensive overview of a wide range of the courses and opportunities that are available and delivered at Bruce CIT. I have visited the CIT many times. I am particularly impressed by their sustainable technology, which Dr Bourke spoke about. The forensic science education area is another very interesting part of the Bruce campus. I have been fortunate enough to be given access to it and to be given a briefing there.

I must say that I am glad no-one asked me to climb the tower or go up in the crane that Dr Bourke mentioned. I have no problem going up in the cherry picker to put the star on the top of the Christmas tree. Sadly, it does not appear that we are having a Christmas tree anymore. I used to enjoy going up in the cherry picker to put the star on the top of the Christmas tree, even though the men who drove the cherry picker, and they were men, liked to tell me that it was probably going to collapse or stick halfway. And I have got no trouble at all having a flight in a hot air balloon. However, I go weak in the knees if you ask me to climb a ladder.

I thank the Chief Minister for reaffirming the important role that technical and further education has in the ACT, the strength of the sector and it is importance for our economy and our social health. The Chief Minister is correct: I am passionate about education of all forms, be it primary, secondary or higher education and, of course, adult education and lifelong learning. As a parent, grandparent and now great-grandparent, I suspect that I might be considered somewhat biased in that regard.

Mr Rattenbury has reminded us about other valuable ways that technical and further education can contribute and does contribute to the ACT region. I thank him for that. It is right, as Mr Gentleman reminds us, to remember that a significant number of people employed here in the ACT and our region who are preparing for their careers do so through trades training and not necessarily at university.

Many of us have those experiences. We also see our children go through these educational institutions, as Ms Berry has pointed out. In our family we have many examples. One that I would like to talk about in respect of young family members who may be finding it difficult to focus is that of one our sons who is running his own project management building business in Melbourne. He left college with no plans, did part-time work at Woolies—I am sure many people in this town have done that—and helped out a mate’s father by labouring on a building job at one time. Then he went on to labour on about every aspect of building that you can imagine, including landscaping.

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