MS TIERNEY (Western Victoria—Minister for Training and Skills, Minister for Higher Education) (12:09:40): I am very pleased with the outcome for the skills and training, and higher education portfolios in last Monday’s budget. The fact of the matter is that there has been an additional $82 million provided in government-subsidised training. There is also an additional $41 million for the free TAFE initiative. There is a further $24 million for free TAFE for the child care courses that will be added to the list. There is $56 million for capital works that goes to GOTAFE at the Seymour campus, to Box Hill Institute in relation to construction, to South West TAFE for a learning and library hub and to a culinary school and hospitality precinct at the Gordon. This is a budget that all Victorians can be proud of. It provides confidence in the Victorian community that this government is very serious about its investment in training and skills in this state compared to what those opposite did when they were in government, where they did nothing but slash and burn the skills and training sector and denied thousands and thousands of Victorians, particularly young Victorians—
Ms Wooldridge: On a point of order, President, the minister is now debating the question and is in fact talking about cuts in another context. I ask you to return her to this very clear question about the cuts that the Premier and the Treasurer have detailed in the budget and how they will relate to the area that she is responsible for.
The PRESIDENT: I believe the minister did respond to the crux of your question when she originally answered the question, but I will ask her to not debate the question.
Ms TIERNEY: Thank you, President. We are very proud of the additional moneys that have been included in this year’s budget. This is a budget of faith in the policy direction of this government. Free TAFE is working. We can see 19 000 people already enrolled in free TAFE—free TAFE courses that are aligned to the jobs that are needed in our community. And we have also of course added further investments in terms of creating higher apprenticeships in infrastructure and blue collar but also in the social services as well. This will be a great collaboration between the department, industry, employers and the tertiary sector. It will mean that we can join the dots between vocational education and training, applied skills and major projects in this state in the blue collar area as well as the service delivery sector. This is a major new initiative in this state and we would like those opposite to finally turn their heads to actually supporting skills and training and to seize and support the great new initiatives that this government has in this great portfolio that is making a great contribution to this state’s economy.