MS TIERNEY (Western Victoria—Minister for Training and Skills, Minister for Higher Education) (12:21): I recently had the pleasure of travelling to Swan Hill, where I met students, teachers and staff at Murray Adult Community Education, who deliver training to Swan Hill locals and the broader regional community. I was really impressed with what I saw and heard. They are a Learn Local and a registered training organisation who provide a compassionate learning environment with quality programs that meet the changing needs of the community. In 2021 Murray ACE supported 35 Reconnect students, and the numbers at that level have already been surpassed in 2022.
The Andrews Labor government’s Reconnect program supports vulnerable people to re-engage with studies and really makes a difference to people’s lives. The team at Murray ACE, led by Leanne Shannon-Kelson, are also committed to their students’ wellbeing and supporting them to a pathway to either further learning or finding a job. What was really impressive was their professional hair and beauty salon training space, which was buzzing with students during my visit. Murray ACE identified the niche in Swan Hill to deliver training where there are skills in demand. While I was walking through the streets of Swan Hill I could not help but notice how busy the beauty salons were. It was great to see that pipeline of skilled workers in this industry being trained in their own community. In addition, Murray ACE delivers training in digital, language and employability skills, and I was also pleased to hear that they have a great collaborative relationship with SuniTAFE. I am also proud that this government supports adult community education and has inspired very strong collaboration with TAFE to serve the very best interests of the communities in which they are placed.