Page 1334 - Week 04 - Thursday, 30 March 2017
specifically—play in the ACT economy and in developing the skills of young people in Canberra.
It is a topic that is very close to my heart. I think there are only one or two of us in this place who have gone through an apprenticeship. Ms Cody may have gone through an apprenticeship when she did hairdressing, and I did a carpentry apprenticeship. It has been a great delight to have had the opportunity both to be an apprentice and then to hire an apprentice and employ one myself. There is something very special in having the opportunity for skills that have been learned to be passed on to you as an apprentice, and it is just as rewarding to pass on those skills to the next generation as they enter the trade and try to carve out a career in one of the vocational employment fields.
There is certainly no replacement for the hands-on experience that is gained through the myriad vocational education and training courses on offer: anything from hospitality to carpentry, remedial massage therapies and the like. It illustrates how varied the skills training opportunities in this town are.
The opposition will be supporting the passage of this motion today. It begs the question as to why the minister feels the need to bring a motion into this place that calls on her to write to the federal government, urging them to recommit to the skills training package and the national partnership agreement. You would probably think that that was her core job. That is what the people of the ACT would expect the minister to do in this place—to do her job and lobby for the ACT to make sure that funding is brought about.
I do not understand their horrified dismay as to why the funding has been drawn out for this long. Madam Assistant Speaker, you only need to think of the debate that we have had in this place for the past week and a half about an organisation that you have brought into the limelight recently, SHOUT. Almost the same argument was used by those opposite as they are using here today against the commonwealth. They said, “This is an issue that needs to be considered by cabinet. This is an issue that needs to run its course. We can’t offer a commitment prematurely.” Here we are today saying, “The commonwealth’s still working through the cabinet process to decide on what the contribution to vocational education and training is,” but that is simply not good enough.
The minister could well and truly know where things are up to if she did as my office did this morning: pick up the phone and call Assistant Minister Andrews’ office and say, “Where are things up to?” And with respect to where it is up to, at the moment it is subject to the normal cabinet processes. The decision will be made shortly.
For those opposite to paint the commonwealth government as not caring, not being engaged and not recognising the significance of apprenticeships also reeks of hypocrisy. One needs only to look at the track record of the former federal Labor government and their actions when it came to supporting employment-based training when they were last in government to see that the evidence is quite clear. From 2011 to 2013 the federal Labor government cut $1.2 billion worth of employer incentives. It is all well and good to support training places for young trainees and