Ms TIERNEY (Western Victoria) — My question is to the Minister for Higher Education and Skills, Peter Hall. Did the department provide advice or modelling on the impact that the cuts to the number of VCAL (Victorian certificate of applied learning) coordinators would have on schools and students before the minister implemented these cuts, and if so, what was the advice?
Hon. P. R. HALL (Minister for Higher Education and Skills) — I thank the member for her question. Again it gives me the opportunity to explain the exact nature of this additional funding, which has been traditionally supplied in addition to the program funding for the VCAL program. The funding provided is for coordination purposes. It is not for positions of coordinators in schools.
Traditionally what is done in schools is that schools give teachers a time allowance for the task of coordinating these programs and they use the coordination payment for that purpose. It is not as if one could go around and indicate exactly the number of positions, because it is not funding for positions per se. It is funding for the role of coordination.
Ms TIERNEY (Western Victoria) — Regardless of that, why was this decision to cut the number of VCAL coordinators not discussed with the minister’s consultation and reference groups over the last six months?
Hon. P. R. HALL (Minister for Higher Education and Skills) — As I said in my answer to the substantive question, it is not a cut of coordinator positions. It is the removal of a payment for coordination purposes.
This is a decision that was taken in order to fund the implementation of over $1 billion in new output initiatives that were part of the 2011-12 budget.