MS TIERNEY (Minister for Training and Skills) (09:47:30) — I rise to update the house on the funding boost provided to Auslan training in regional Victoria by the Andrews Labor government. For the first time people in regional Victoria will be able to study Auslan qualifications up to diploma level without having to travel to Melbourne, thanks to a new TAFE-led project funded by this government. Recently I announced that an additional $2.5 million funding boost would be available to enable Melbourne Polytechnic to use the latest digital technology to deliver certificate and diploma courses to more than 400 additional students across Victoria. This funding boost means more people will have access to Auslan training in more locations, particularly in regional Victoria.
Melbourne Polytechnic is the sole provider of government-subsidised Auslan accredited training and leads the Victorian Auslan Training Consortium, with key partners Vicdeaf, deafConnectEd and Monash and La Trobe universities. The Andrews government has also cleared the way for Victorians wishing to undertake both the diploma of Auslan and the diploma of interpreting Auslan streams by removing eligibility barriers for those aspiring to undertake the critical work of Auslan interpreting. It is particularly pleasing that enrolments in Auslan courses have reached historical highs in recent years. This is a testament to the collaborative work of the Victorian Auslan Training Consortium led by Melbourne Polytechnic.
We are making the investments needed to improve access to education and training for all Victorians regardless of where they live and their personal circumstances. The record of this government in relation to ensuring that all Victorians have access to high-quality education and training represents a major achievement of this government.