MS TIERNEY (Western Victoria—Minister for Training and Skills, Minister for Higher Education) (11:34):
I do thank the member for his question and the opportunity to talk through the position of ambassador for TAFE. Of course I will continue to heavily promote TAFE. I do not think there could be any criticism whatsoever in terms of me making sure at every opportunity that TAFE is absolutely at the centre of the government’s agenda when it comes to skills and training in this state.
In terms of Ms Terpstra’s role, Ms Terpstra will be also assisting because so many people are interested in TAFE. We have been able to restore vocational education and training—the application of skills as a very, very important part of someone’s development—on par with a university education. There have been so many inquiries, and indeed what I have been heartened to hear from Ms Terpstra is that directly after the announcement, and every day since, there have been an overwhelming number of Victorians that have made contact with her. She has been able to explain her direct experience, being a TAFE graduate, and they have been able to tell their personal stories to her as well. They have done that through email and they have done that through social media, and this is exactly what we want to do. We want to be able to not just deliver record-breaking funding allocations to the sector and all the other things that we are doing in respect of training and equipment improvements, innovation et cetera—
Mr Ondarchie interjected.
Ms TIERNEY: We want to bring $3.2 billion of resources to the VET sector, Mr Ondarchie, something that you opposite could not do because you were too busy shutting down campuses, sacking staff—
Dr Bach: On a point of order, President, you have repeatedly ruled that question time is not a time to attack the opposition. A little earlier on Ms Pulford took the opportunity to reflect upon our trousers and said that we were wearing cranky pants. Now, I would not reflect upon other members’ clothing, but nonetheless I would ask respectfully that the minister comply with your previous rulings.
The PRESIDENT: Minister, please come back to the answer.
Ms TIERNEY: Further to the point of order, President, I was merely articulating the record of those opposite when they were last in government.
The PRESIDENT: No further, thank you. There is no point of order. Please, Minister, continue. Or are you finished?
Ms TIERNEY: No. I will never be finished when it comes to talking about VET and TAFE. I think you know that, President. The fact of the matter that is we have got an exemplary example of the TAFE system. Not only that, you will see over time that Ms Terpstra will also be drawing out from other members of Parliament that have also had the privilege of attending and going through a TAFE course so that there is a real connection between those in the community that have had that opportunity. Indeed we are reflected in all layers of society. We are very proud of being able to rebuild the TAFE system. We are very, very proud of making sure that people—parents in particular, as well as students—can see the importance of vocational education and training.
Ms Terpstra, along with all government members, will continue to support and advocate on behalf of TAFEs, no matter where they are in this state. We will do that, we will do that with aplomb, we will do that consistently and we will do that until it gets through some of your thick heads that TAFE is incredibly important. It is this government that backs in TAFE, and that is why we are spending an enormous amount of money ensuring that we have good public provision of VET and TAFE in this state. It is not just TAFE; it is also registered training organisations that are industry and also not for profit that are awarded Skills First contracts. We are very serious about vocational education and training in this state, and that is why we have business continuity applications and that is why we have supported the TAFE system all the way through the pandemic.