Ms TIERNEY (Minister for Training and Skills) (09:49:00) — Ms Lovell raised concerns yesterday by pronouncing that Auslan funding will cease at the end of this year. Let me be clear: there is no basis to this statement. What is true is that the current qualifications are being reviewed for re-accreditation in 2018, a process that is well underway and which has included consultation with the deaf and hard-of-hearing community. This is standard practice to ensure the currency and the relevance of courses and to ensure that training outcomes meet the needs of the deaf and hard-of-hearing community. The newly accredited course will be funded in 2018.
Members may not be aware that in 2017 funding for Auslan courses has been increased, with additional funding and support also provided through the regional and specialised training fund under Skills First. In 2017 the Andrews government also cleared the way for Victorians 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, together with key partners the Victorian Deaf Society and La Trobe University. Support for the deaf and hard-of-hearing community has been provided by continued funding for the DeafConnectEd organisation to assist deaf and hard-of-hearing learners in vocational education and training settings as well as training organisations that work with them.
I would remind those opposite that in 2012 it was they who cut funding to Auslan, including the cutting of courses at Kangan Institute. This decision has caused a lot of pain in the deaf and hard-of-hearing community, and Labor stood up against these cuts. We will continue to support this community, even in the face of unfounded and untrue claims by those opposite.
Ms Lovell — On a point of order, President, I would put to you that that was more of a personal explanation as to why the minister could not answer the question yesterday and also a clarification that she is responsible for consultation on the Auslan funding, rather than the information she gave us yesterday in question time, which was that she was not responsible for consulting on funding.
Ms Shing interjected.
The PRESIDENT — Order! I do not accept that it is a point of order. As Ms Shing said, the member is entitled to a wide canvas for a members statement, and she has chosen to inform the house by way of a members statement. That is perfectly in order.