Page 4145 - Week 13 - Wednesday, 18 November 2015

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MS BURCH: I thank Dr Bourke for his interest in VET. The purpose of the loadings in the Australian apprenticeship model is to ensure that persons from marginalised groups are able to participate in training and successfully complete their qualifications. The loadings that were paid in the user choice program were set many years ago. The recent research found that three loadings—the small business loading, the mature age loading and the first qualification loading—were either not effective in targeting the government’s priorities or were not effectively incentivising target groups into training.

During the extensive consultation undertaken, RTOs indicated that there was no impact on training costs for these different students and that the loadings were not incentivising them to target those student cohorts. Subsequently, we have removed those loadings from the Australian apprenticeship model. Significantly, we have maintained the loadings that are paid to support some specific student groups, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and students with a disability.

We have also introduced two new loadings. The first of these is the thin market loading, which ensures that RTOs are supported to deliver qualifications in areas of high skills need when there are few providers delivering training in those qualifications.

The second loading is aimed at the public provider. It acknowledges how important CIT is to the provision of Australian apprenticeships in the ACT and recognises the additional costs it incurs as the public provider of VET in the ACT. CIT has a broader social mandate than private RTOs and maintains substantial capital infrastructure to support a comprehensive delivery of training services to the ACT community. It is important that these additional costs are acknowledged in the funding they receive.

MADAM SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Ms Porter.

MS PORTER: Minister, how do these reforms position us nationally, and what matters will you be taking to this week’s COAG Industry Skills Council as a result?

MS BURCH: Thank you, Ms Porter, for your question. I am, indeed, very proud of the fact that the ACT has either met or exceeded all of the targets under the national partnership agreement on skills reform. While the national partnership continues through to 2017, as agreed between the commonwealth and state and territory governments, a review of the progress of the NP has been undertaken this year. The report is yet to be finalised, but a draft of the report will be subject to discussion at the COAG Industry Skills Council this Friday.

Importantly, the report acknowledges that jurisdictions had flexibility in implementing the objectives of skills reform and could set state and territory appropriate targets. The report demonstrates the success of the ACT in achieving its training objectives and agreed structural change milestones.

There are a number of additional reform initiatives on the agenda for the meeting this Friday. I will continue to underline how important it is for each state and territory to

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