My adjournment matter is for the Minister for Training and Skills and is in relation to local learning and employment networks, commonly known as LLENs.
There are 31 LLENs in Victoria, and I have quite a few in my electorate, including the Central Grampians LLEN in Ararat, the Geelong Region LLEN in Geelong, the Glenelg and Southern Grampians LLEN in Hamilton, the Highlands LLEN in Ballarat, the South West LLEN in Warrnambool and the Wimmera Southern Mallee LLEN in Horsham.
More than half of Victoria’s LLENs are in regional Victoria, and we all know they assist young people in being job ready and gaining the relevant skills that are required for gainful employment. LLENs work with those who are disengaged or not engaged in the school system as well as those who are at risk of not being engaged, along with retrenched workers and older workers.
I was grossly disappointed last year when the previous government walked away and shifted its responsibility for funding LLENs to the Abbott government. Once that occurred the Abbott government quickly cancelled its funding of the LLENs, so it was a delight to see in the budget papers today that $32 million has been allocated to LLENs across Victoria. It is a fantastic announcement — there is no doubt about that — and I am sure the ongoing work of the LLENs will be fulsome to say the least.
The concern I have is that I think it is very important to have LLENs that reflect the communities in which they work, and those communities are quite diverse. I do not think we should ever walk into a situation where one size fits all, because the needs of our community members are very different.
What I seek from the minister is further information about how LLENs will focus on industry, youth and employment; about whether there will be further reporting mechanisms to provide a greater focus in terms of the state government’s drive to provide jobs; and about youth unemployment coming off the books in order to get this state moving again.