I rise to speak on the South West Institute of TAFE’s annual report 2008. At the
commencement of my comments can I acknowledge Wayne Krause, the president of the
board, as well as Joe Piper, the chief executive officer, and the board members,
who put in an enormous amount of time and hard work and provide excellent
leadership to the TAFE. Can I also mention the academic staff, the
administrative staff and the maintenance staff, who work very hard in creating
an environment that is pleasant to work and study in.
The South West Institute of TAFE services a population in
excess of 120 000 covering an area of over 23 000 square kilometres. It provides
a number of services from its campuses at Warrnambool, Glenormiston, Hamilton,
Portland and Sherwood Park.
The report lists a number of the TAFE’s major achievements
during the reporting period, but I would like to concentrate my attention this
morning on Glenormiston College. I am pleased to say that last Friday I had the
absolute honour of attending the lease signing of the Glenormiston College. In
doing so I was representing the Minister for Skills and Workforce Participation.
In 1949, to go back, the current mansion and a parcel of
surrounding land was purchased by the state of Victoria to be used by the
agriculture department for research purposes. In 1970 the site was transformed
into an agricultural college, and ever since Glenormiston College has played a
vital role in delivering training for the farming sector. From its very first
intake of 56 students the college has been at the forefront of agricultural
training and developing innovative training approaches and products. It has been
almost 40 years since the college first opened, and so much has happened over
the course of those years.
One constant theme has been the high esteem in which the
college has been held, not just in the local area and not just because of the
graduates having a high opinion of the education they have received, but because
it has delivered a whole range of highly skilled workers for our agricultural
sector right across Victorian and Australian rural communities.
In 2005 the college was operated by Melbourne University, which
then decided to divest itself of all agricultural campuses. The Victorian
government made a commitment that the college would continue to serve the
farming industry and regional communities, recognising that those communities
depended on it.
Last year Skills Victoria announced that
South West TAFE was the preferred tenderer to run Glenormiston College. We are
proud this college will now stay viable; I believe it will continue to be a
beacon for the region.
Our efforts on behalf of Glenormiston College form part of the
Brumby government’s effort to boost skills and training right across Victoria.
The skills package includes the Victorian training guarantee, which came into
effect on 1 July for diploma and advanced diploma courses and is set to be
extended to all levels of the training system. Under the guarantee, all eligible
Victorians, whether they choose to enrol in training independently or as part of
the employer’s wider training program, are entitled to a government-funded
training place at any stage of their adult lives. The guarantee applies to all
Victorians under the age of 20 and those seeking to gain a qualification higher
than they already hold.
It is with this faith in the future that we were so happy to
see the Glenormiston College stay, become part of the South West Institute of
TAFE, be open for future generations and provide a brilliant service to the
south-west. Again I congratulate Joe Piper, Wayne Krause and their board for an
excellent delivery period and on having a particularly spectacular vision for
the college into the future.