MS TIERNEY (Western Victoria—Minister for Training and Skills, Minister for Higher Education, Minister for Agriculture) (12:35): I rise today to acknowledge the 68th annual Victorian Training Awards and congratulate the winners along with all of the finalists. The Victorian Training Awards recognise the outstanding achievements of apprentices, students, teachers, employers and training providers in the Victorian vocational education and training system. This year’s winners reflect the variety of skills, talent and determination that thrives in the sector. Each year our very talented vocational design students are invited to pitch an item for me to showcase on the night.
This year I sought interest from students who could design a wrap celebrating and honouring the LGBTIQA+ community while promoting inclusion. It is with heartfelt thanks to Holmesglen student TJ Van Der Meulen and their teacher Anna Whitehall that I wear this scarf so proudly in this chamber today. Thank you, TJ. The production line to create this wrap was incredible, using digital software to create the repeated pattern, carefully maintaining the integrity of the silk scarf and finally hemming the wrap with an industrial machine on campus. TJ, you did more than nail it. Every flag is represented: lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, intersex and asexual. TJ also included non-binary, pansexual, poly and Philadelphia progressive pride flags to shine a light on the smaller and lesser known groups of the community. Like the LGBTIQA+ community, TJ’s design is colourful, diverse and full of expression. I pay my deepest respects to the entire spectrum of the rainbow. Once again, to TJ and Anna, thank you so much.