MS TIERNEY (Western Victoria—Minister for Training and Skills, Minister for Higher Education) (12:00): I thank the member for his question. Apprenticeships are incredibly important, and we know that right across the board. This has been the case and a very proud contribution that this government has made in respect to apprenticeships, and during my time as minister we have put in an extraordinary amount of money in respect of the apprenticeship system.
The member would well know that in terms of apprenticeship funding it is historically the province of the federal government. But leaving that to one side, this government has seen fit to make significant contributions to make sure that the apprenticeship system can work. For example, we have got the apprenticeship support officers that are located in TAFEs, we have recently set up a register so that we can track those that have been laid off, we have put in money in relation to updating curriculum and we have introduced capstone assessments. It is this government that has made sure that we do not allow the system to languish.
We do believe that it is the responsibility of government to support the apprenticeship system—the state government, the federal government—but it is also the responsibility of the employer. Employers need to invest in their people and they need to invest in their industries, and we see that where the apprenticeship system works really well, particularly in the northern European jurisdictions, where you have co-investment, co-contributions and a co-commitment to industry and investment. And that is what is needed in this state. This is why Victoria has led work at the skills council on apprenticeships, because we know much more work needs to be done. And the COAG skills council has agreed and has asked Victoria to do further work in this area so that we can have a strong pipeline of apprentices in this state.
Mr O’Donohue interjected.
Ms TIERNEY: The fact of the matter is that the work will continue. Mr O’Donohue, you might want it to go away, but the work will continue because the skills council ministers have been working very well together. We have got a good relationship with the minister, Michaelia Cash, in making sure that skills are right at the middle and centre of the recovery of the pandemic. We have got the tick from the Prime Minister as well as our federal counterparts to ensure that we do have a skills and training system that can help us in the recovery of this pandemic. (Time expired)